So Arsène, Deal Or No Deal – Don’t Let The Bankers Decide For You

The media-politick has finished, spin spun and now the Machiavellian dealings return to the corridors of Totteridge whereupon very little will be publicly announced.  D-day for Arsenal and Robin van Persie; D for Deal, that is although if negotiations run smoothly I am sure that a tabloid headline of VP Day will surface. Aah, I saved them the trouble.

Sealing a deal in one day of negotiations would be sterling work by Arsenal and entirely surprising. Arsène said he wanted this resolved before the European Championships which was always a tight deadline, made seemingly impossible by holding this meeting less than twenty-four hours before van Persie joins the Oranje on their quest for glory this summer. Unless of course the outcome is already decided which would tie in with the seeming disinterest of the captain in money. A tawdry subject or posturing, clever manoeuvering having seen the derision and disdain served on Samir Nasri and to a lesser extent Cesc Fabregas last summer?

No doubt there will be a hackwatch clock somewhere with a sliding scale marking milestones, a meeting less than an hour long will indicate that negotiations have broken down although it might mean Arsenal’s offer was entirely on the nose – bang on the money? Several hours long signals that Arsenal / van Persie drove a hard bargain but in fact only shows that the debate over whether or not ‘ai‘ is a genuinely word allowed in Scrabble – Kees Vos cursing the three-toed sloth as Arsène won through using a triple word score.

As I mentioned yesterday and previously on the blog, my own view is that van Persie will not leave this summer. There is no financial necessity for Arsenal to sell. As much as Lukas Podolski might view himself as being akin to the club signing three forwards due to his versatility, he will need that treble firepower to make up for the lack of goals scored by others before taking on the burden of emulating van Persie.

I would like the Dutchman to stay – you want the best players at Arsenal – but if he feels that he cannot fulfil his career at The Emirates then he will leave. Despite much media speculation, I don’t envisage any circumstance where Arsenal would sell to Manchester City, certainly not at the £25m being quoted in the media. That just does not make football sense, releasing a key player to a rival team at market value does not reflect the premium surely payable. The club would be looking to add a third to that fee for selling to a Premier League team or so it seems it ought to be from the comfort of this desk and chair.

If Arsène has polarised opinions this season, Alex Song has been equally divisive and news of a new deal will not universally popular. Each team has to have a regular first team player who is the target of critical comments and having weathered the storm before, the teacup this time around is barely moving by comparison. Song’s role has become confused in some quarters; a strong desire for a standard defensive midfielder pushes that responsibility onto the Cameroonean and primarily that is his role. At Arsenal it is not that simple though with creativity demanded as well, flexibility requiring rotation between himself and Arteta to provide the barrier; one attacks, the other provides defensive cover. To assign that to one player simplifies your opponents task of nullifying a threat.

That said, Song does not help himself with a languid style and performance levels that have dipped at times this season. Yet he has been very productive with sixteen assists last season quadrupling his contribution in 2010-11. That identifies how much reliance was placed on Cesc primarily; Song had to stay back more often. This time the balance of the side is different without a pivotal midfielder. Arteta, Song and Rosicky can be formidable attackers but I would not put much stock by Rosicky as a defensive midfielder. It is why I think the links to M’vila are strong, Arsène wanting to balance the attacking instincts with a solid platform. Amusingly, some still do not see that this is the manager trying to address the defensive issues; defending begins in attack.

Elsewhere the provisional England squad is named today with few believing that anyone other than Theo Walcott of the Arsenal players will be named. I cannot see that there is much to support the inclusion of Oxlade-Chamberlain or Gibbs. For me both are too inexperienced in their roles, in particular AOC who is not a regular for the first team yet. In Gibbs case, Cole and Baines offer more reliability and this time it might be just too soon for the left back. I would suggest that 2014 in Brazil will be the time when both are included. Who knows, if Jack Wilshere is fit by then, we might provide a third of the England team?

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 16, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 392 Comments.

  1. uno

  2. It’s obvious that all gooners hope van Persie will stay. It’s always a nervy time when one of our few truly world class players is in contract negotiations. Hopefully we can get this done early and all the other necessary squad business and have a nice peaceful summer and pre-season.

  3. *Hunter! – i swear hunter is a group on his own, imagine if he was captain of afc, just crazy.

    haha !!! well said !! …i wouldnt disappoint, but the epl aint ready for hunter yet …. 🙂

  4. GOOD NEWS ALERT I understand Wilshere was on TalkShite this morning –

    He said words to the effect of “My ankle is fine now, just a few niggles, I will be back training with the team on 9th July.”

    It seems he should be fully fit ahead of the new campaign.

    And the took a pop at Nasri –

    “I don’t know what goes on in his head, he won a trophy, when we win one we will rub it in his face.”


  5. Nobody – not even Hunter – is ready for Hunter yet.

  6. I foresee Frinpong clearing Nasri out next season. And quite right too.

  7. Scumbag journalism rears its ugly head once more as the papers shout out at that Arsenal will “force” RVP to see out his contract if he doesn’t sign a new one. Since when does asking a player, who has been with us for eight years and who has a very strong relationship with the club, to see out his contract become a subject of conflict between player and club?

    I’m more interested to see what we do to resolve our other stirker issues rather than the RVP situation. Podolski is a great start, but we also have loanees returning to the club who clearly don’t want to play for Arsenal and who are not wanted by the club. Bendtner, Vela and Arshavin are all back on the books this summer and hopefully will be traded on before becoming an issue when AW finalises the 25 man squad for next season. Chamakh and Park must also be of some concern to Arsene as Chamakh has been used sparingly and Park not at all. With the possibility of players like Joel Campell and Wellington SIlva also being thrown in the mix there is a lot of juggling to be done with our attacking line-up. Not forgetting Miyaichi who will be pushing for a squad number having completed his finishing school at Bolton so well.

    Certainly an embarrassment of riches in our attacking line-up for the new season, I’m looking forward to seeing what the right balance is.

  8. Wavey – Very true. We do have a lot of forward option, many of which are not at the level required for Arsenal.

    I can see Park, Vela, Bendtner all leaving (I hope so). I still think Chamakh could do a job for us if used in the same team as he like of RvP. Given our formation I can’t see him getting much game time though.

    AA I can see leaving as well if I am being honest. Campbell will hopefully be a decent option on the bench some weeks, and Afobe backing him up when needed.

  9. thank you jonny …deep down you know i would be the first to punch evra, the refs, the linesmen etc etc 🙂 ..leading by example 🙂

  10. pedantic george

    ” Kees Vos cursing the three-toed sloth as Arsène won through using a triple word score.”

    Gave me a genuine laugh out loud moment.

  11. Goonerandy

    I agree with you about Chamakh, I was impressed with his effort when he came on against Norwich having been disappointed at his lack of effort in other appearances during the season. He isn’t the man to lead the line for us, but seems to be more involved when we play two up front. Arsenal have a 4-4-2 alternative, surely not?

  12. I think he would be fine as our main striker in the first 11 should RvP be unavailabe, or even playing behind him. He has only had the chance to do that is the past year or so in a weakened (CC Games) side. As it is Podoloski will be the direct replacement for RvP should he be unavailable now though I would have thought.

    Chamakh may have missed his chance with us. I do agree about the 442 though. I think he would do well playing with RvP on a regular basis.

  13. Yes, only one subject on all our minds this morning! If it was just up to the club, RvP would have been signed up three months ago. I hope he doesn’t drag it out, but whatever happens I don’t think he will be leaving this summer.

    I can only hope someone has thought to provide good biscuits for the meeting.

    Frimpong missed a trick when we played Man City early in the season. He’d been on Nasri’s case all game and when he pulled up his shirt in front of Nasri to reveal his T-shirt, it should have said “Bench” not “Dench”.

    Agree about this international tournament being too soon for all of JW, AOC and Gibbs.

  14. I think, subconbsciously anyway, the fact that Song has no real competition may have lead to some of his more lacklustre performances? Its just a thought. Or maybe he was just mentality shattered? Anyhoo, the rumoured interest in M’Villa is a good one and would be greatly welcomed by me.


    I hope Arshavin stays, I dont think he does want to leave, he just wanted to get some serious game time before the Euros. Now he achieved that, there’s no reason for him not to return and fight for a place. We need our best players and despite what some say, he is one of the them, along with RvP, Song etc.

  15. I am more than happy for AA to stay. On his day his is top quality. I do think AOC will really push hard fo a starting berth next year though, and it would be reasonable to expect Gervinho to be better after his first season in the lge. If he stays he really will have to perform, or some weeks he may struggle to make the bench.

  16. ompetition is good man. Oxo Kid and Gervinho AND Podolski can all operate on the left side, so we will really have options then. Who knows, Arshavin might even get a look in behind the main striker (whoever that is? 🙂 )

  17. I still dont understand the Park signing, he didnt get a look in at all did he. Id love to know why because the chap has really taken a hit to his playing career when a move to Arsenal should have been a boost to it…..So i reckon he might well be offski. Ditto Chamakh, who for all intents and purposes seems to have overlooked when he might have had something to offer. I dont know how i feel about Arshavin. A super talented player, more so than Park and Chamakh. But whats gone wrong with him, surely not as simple as playing a position he doesnt want to??

  18. Dex – Yeah, I definatly agree. Competition for places can be essential. Firstly so that the team has options should somebody hit a bad run of form, but secondly to keep players on their toes and not slipping into a comfort zone. No player should be 100% of their place in the side.

  19. Re: RvP news and updates. follow the very funny gunnerblog / gilberto silver on Twitter.

  20. Park was a last minute punt for all I know? Didnt work out, but the fact RvP had an injury free season meant we didnt really need him. I don’t think its that strange really. It can happen. Maybe he had a dodgy passport, or was really a drug mule for Korean gangsters?

  21. Deise – The Park signing was a strange one. I can only assume that once Arsene got him in training it became apparant that he was not good enough for us. I really can’t think of anything else.

    Shame, but sometimes transfers just don’t work out I suppose. We got away with it this year as RvP stayed fit. If he had picked up an injury Arsene may have really got his fingers burnt with that particular transfer.

  22. pedantic george

    mingus.what is your twitter name?

  23. I like AA but I just get the feeling it is the right time to sell him.

    AW doesn’t play him in his preferred position and, most likely, never will – this means he would be competing with LPod, Gerv & Ryo. I don’t envisage he would be a regular starter – which would be a pity as his talent deserves to be showcased properly and regularly.

    Being played occasionally and out of position fails on both counts.

    Then there is the money aspect – given his age, and the fact there would only be a year left on his contract, if we hold on to him for another season his value will diminish hugely.

  24. pedantic george

    “but the fact RvP had an injury free season meant we didnt really need him.”

    Clarity of thought is what sets you apart Dexter.
    You kept it simple and got it right.Sometime people want to look for complications that just are not there.

  25. Sure RVP stayed injury free and was undropable but there were times he could have come off and given Park and/or Chamakh a 15-20 min run out. The likes of Christopher Wreh and Kaba Diawara even got that when we had the likes of Wrighty, Henry and Anelka!! 😉

  26. Christ! Oxo too!

  27. Just looking at those Podolski pictures on His upper body strength must be phenomenal. His arms are like a weight-lifters. Even his finger is massive.

  28. pedantic george

    Andrei should be sold.
    Or played where TR7 has this year.Between those two we have plenty while we wait for Jack in the next couple of years.

  29. Deise – Yeah, I always found that a little strange. Surely Arsene didn’t have that much lack of faith in them?

  30. Yes! Song talk.

    Song is reserved and laid back sure, but it’s just his personality. I wouldn’t doubt his committment. I hope we can hang on to him because he is the best midfielder in the league by a country mile. I can see him playing with more freedom if we do bring in a specialist defensive midfielder, but I can’t understand the M’Vila talk. Something we are not short of is midfielders in their early 20s. Why not bring in another experienced head like Arteta? Someone who has spent their entire career doing exactly what we will expect them to do; sit tight, read the game and break up play.

    Imagine 2 Arteta’s in midfield with Song playing ahead. Those 16 assists came from deep. Imagine how many he would get given freedom and with Theo, VP and Podolski ahead of him.

  31. pedantic george

    Ox too what Jonny?

  32. I was at the pre-season game against Koln earlier this year. Podolski was head and shoulders above the rest of his team mates and was a threat most of the game. He also had a bit of a ding dong with Squaliachi. He does have that agreesive side to his game, but in my mind that is a good thing.

  33. Paddy V is doing his utmost to sully his reputation as a Gooner I see. So, that’s him and Petit who can both fuck right off then.


    Seems pretty clear to me, although Deise is trying to wind himself up trying to find alterior motives! 🙂

  34. pedantic george

    Markus.the further forward someone plays the quicker their thought process has to be.I think Song is best suited deeper with more time and space,with quick thinkers like TR7 or Andrie in the advanced (tighter)positions.

  35. Oxo Kid can play wide left George.

  36. Someone pointed out Ox can also play on the left – further competition for that berth.

    I agree Arshavin could offer a lot in the middle – a pity Wenger only explored it briefly and, to my knowledge, not playing behind a striker where I think he would operate most naturally.

  37. I’m following you too george. I’ll make myself known. Classic, brilliant stuff going on!

  38. This squad, with a couple of additions as wellas a few departures could be amazing next season. I cannot believe we will once again be losing our better players this close season? Please don’t make me go through that again Arsenal!! Waaahhhh!!! 🙂

  39. Andy @ 10.53. No you are wrong.

    That’s a GREAT thing.

    Just what we need IMO.

  40. Markus

    But if M’Villa is as good as the reports, then why not sign a 21 year old who can do that job for years to come?

  41. @ Markus
    I wonder if Song would be as effective as the furthest forward midfielder? Perhaps he can have the impact he has because he is further back? What I do think is that in the absence of Arteta, he has to take that role rather than Coquelin, because of his greater experience – what would you say?

    @ Deise
    Park played in CC matches, didn’t he? If you think about our season, almost every game was a crunch game. RvP is our best striker, he was fit, it was a big game, so he played. Park scores a lot for his country, AW had followed him for a while, and when Bendtner got the loan move to Sunderland, suddenly there was space for Park.

  42. Jonny – Ha, I had to read that twice then. Yup, agreed.

  43. @ Dexter | May 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Paddy V is doing his utmost to sully his reputation as a Gooner I see. So, that’s him and Petit who can both fuck right off then.

    What’s he done/said?

  44. andy – Poldi was worshiped at Koln, he was the teams best player and talisman who defo has some bite. I read somewhere, some german football journo saying you would have to be in the city to see and believe how much they loved him. Heres to the same connection with Gooners..

  45. FG;

    Just a load of blather about how moneybags citeh will eclipse the Invincibles, yadda yadda. 🙂

  46. No way in hell is wilshere going to sit on the bench, i think some people say things like this just to piss me off – i followed wilshere’s progress from the academy, watching the young un make his debut in the league at 16!, players make way for wilshere not the other way round – just ask denilson.

  47. Dexter, because we already have three who are probably just as good and have PL experience. Le Coq, Wilshere and to a lesser extent, Frimpong are bound to be around the same level as this lad.

    What’s the point in developing our own young superstars and then going and buying M’Vila.

  48. FunGunner | May 16, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I think i saw a blonde immature moustache there..please confirm same ..anyone ?

    kroenkemania ……….

    please jack wilshere…grow moustache too !!!

  49. “What’s the point in developing our own young superstars and then going and buying M’Vila.”

    – Because M’Vila might just be better??

  50. Just getting abit carried away with all the potential line ups for next season. This could be the CC team;

    —– Martinez —–
    Jenkinson – Djourou – Bartley – Miquel
    — Coquelin – Ramsey —
    – Ryo – Oxo – Campbell –
    —– Afobe —–

  51. Fun – There were games when we were desperate for a and he was on the bench goal, yet Arsene never brought him on. There were games when he was on the bench and the match was won. He never brought him on. That tells its own story.

    We took a gamble on signing him and he wasn’t up to Arsenal standard on closer viewing. Meh, get rid and move along.

  52. Hey johnny, you’re definately right, m’villa is tasty as hell, i mean the guy was spraying 50yard passes with consumate ease and deadly precision, he is worth the hype – Sigh, if only.

  53. @ Dexter
    Thanks. Yuck.

  54. dont believe the mvilla hype, last summer we were playing in a tournament in brussels and i marked him with so much ease..he couldnt do shit really..then i left him for dead and scored from 40 yards out…his manager took him off…. 🙂

  55. Markus

    Why are they bound to be round the same level? Based on what? Wishful thinking man.

    While Wilshere plays a different type of game, Frimpong has another long term injury and will need another loan and Coquelin is the closest, yet has a fraction of the playing time that M’Villa has. I love Coquelin, think he will be a star for us. Its not me who is suggesting we sign him, its Arsene and the club, apparantly.

  56. FunGunner/George, yeah it’s more likely if Song was given the freedom it would be from the same position he has now but with a defensive minded partner covering. I mean it has been the case already with Arteta, but if Arteta is out we miss that. Would just love to see us tap into his attacking ability a little more, hence why I reckon we should sign another Arteta, but one who is even more defensive. It might be M’Villa, but I reckon if we’re prepared to buy it should be experince.

  57. pedantic george

    khalifha would he be happy on the bench .I mean when he has to step aside for Jack?
    Denilson was not Song,Arteta,Rosicky,Diaby or even Ramsey.
    Jack,when he comes back after a year out, is at best 5th choice even if M’Vila does not come.

  58. If M’Villa is better than many of our current options (Ramsey, Frimpong, Le Coq) is can only be a good thing signing him. Like many others, I think the cash could be better spent elsewhere, but by the same token if we are buying quality players in any position I am all for it.

    We have struggled this year with Arteta in midfield, and we simply cannot be in that position (struggling because a single player is missing) as a club of such stature.

  59. George

    I can see Jack being eased in very gradually. Possibly even having to settle for being in my CC team.

  60. “Because M’Vila might just be better?” Wenger’s original & continued interest is obviously indicative of this: Sure, he wants a decent price, but he still wants the player in spite of the ‘quality’ we have coming through.

    @Khalifha – yup his passing is really something else isn’t it?

    @Andy 11.10 – yup spot on. Could have used a trusted back up and support as RVP waned under the pressure of playing 90+ minutes at times. I don’t seek to place blame but it was clearly the case.

    Like you, I guess Park just never worked out for AW and he could not get Podolski in January.

  61. Jack, 5th choice – do me a favour – the kid has IT. Surely you can see that?

  62. Did someone mention the Carling Cup? This would be my team:

    —– Martinez —–
    Jenkinson – Djourou – Miquel – Gibbs
    – Coquelin plus two out of Ramsey/Diaby/Wilshere –
    Oxo – Campbell/Afobe – Ryo

    Going with AW’s recent preference for more experienced line-ups and the need to bring our injured players back up to speed in a measured way.

  63. All this hand-wringing over bench places/players – we need a squad we can rotate. No different than any top club.

    If we are reluctant to do so or, worse, ready to trust back-ups then we need to address that.

    George IMO, it may take JW a while to get his first-team place back but if he regains form and fitness to previous levels he’ll be almost impossible to keep out.

  64. Deise

    Think George is suggesting the lenghty lay off will require an easing in period. But I shouldn’t really be having to explain that.

  65. Na$ri is a complete and utter disappointment, i know many arsenal have been giving him stick on twitter but they did not pay him his salary while he was at arsenal so he could have at least showed a little respect to the club – i wonder if wenger has read any of his comments.

  66. There’s a lot of support for AA playing in a more central role and i agree with George that he would have been my choice to alternate with TR7 in that attacking role. Most of the criticism for AA was over his inability/unwillingness to track back which left our LB exposed. Whilst sometimes his forward play came to naught at least he was always willing to charge at the defence with the ball. Coming in from the left there are only really two ways you can go; take the player down the line or try to cut inside. If he had played through the midddle perhaps his driving runs with the ball would have opened up more attacking options for us than they did coming in from the wing.
    With so many options now available on the left (Gervinho, Ox, Podolski, Miyaichi) we don’t need to play AA there, so I will welcome him back this summer and hope to see him make some of those driving runs through the middle of the park.

  67. That’s a great team FG. Guess Martinez would be usurped by the new number 2.

    But a strong and interesting team. Like may I’m itching to see Ryo.

    It’s going to be interesting to see where our new number 2 comes from – old and experienced would be my choice – as opposed to young and ambitious.

  68. *many*

  69. A fit Jack starts, a year out or no, when hes back he will be fit to go, right?

  70. pedantic george

    What and Song,Arteta and Rosicky don’t have “it”?

    It took Rosicky.Who was already world class and the finished article,Two tears to get back after a year out.
    Try and think before you type Deise.
    I am not saying Jack is not a great prospect.But when he comes back he is considerably behind some others,
    Arteta played in the position Jack played last year .only much better.Do you really thing he will take Artetas place?

  71. Martinez
    Jenkinson – Djourou – Bartley – Miquel
    Coquelin – Jack
    Ryo – Diaby – Oxlade-C

    There you go then Fungunner! 🙂

  72. pedantic george

    “A fit Jack starts”
    Perhaps when his competition was Denilson or an injured Diaby ,but not a fit Arteta or Song.Not yet at least.

  73. Dex – George has in the past said that he doesn’t see JW as an automatic starter – he rates others as higher in the pecking order – when all are fit.

  74. Deise

    You are expecting a hell of a lot from a young player who has only had one real season’s regular playing time to come straight back into the team after a year out. Regardless of issues around form and consistency, there are bound to be a few niggles to deal with man.

  75. LOL.

  76. @Pedantic, wilshere as 5th choice? you’re just trying to stir shit up. Wenger on his opinion about the number of games jack played last year ‘when a player gives a performance then another performance you just find it hard to drop him.
    Capello on wilshere after the match against wales it was a normal performance, when i say normal i mean that is what you expect from him(i think), he plays like a 28 or 29 year old player with 40 caps

  77. pedantic george

    What are you LOL’ing at young Jonny?

  78. Jonny

    Oh, I forgot about Geroge’s tendencies to slate our players! 🙂

  79. Diaby IS still injured! Arteta starts. Jacks competition is Ramsey and Rosicky, and for me he starts ahead of both. I expect a lot because i believe he has the lot. Just like Cesc. A year out, sure there will most likely be niggles, but niggles aside he right back into the team i reckon.

  80. pedantic george

    khalifha ,I refer you to my 11.32 post and “Arteta played in the position Jack played last year .only much better.Do you really thing he will take Artetas place?”

    So what do you say to that?
    Rather than just insisting that you opinion is somehow more valid .answer my points!

  81. Whilst the “play AA centrally” is an obvious argument, I don’tactually agree with it in our current formation. If we played a bog standard 442, he would be excennet in the withdrawn striker role. But we don’t.

    Our advanced midfielder really does put in a big shift; somthing AA would not be suited to doing. This is evidenced by the players that Arsene has employed there. Both Rosicky and Ramsey have great engines, and crutially are midfielders, not forwards. If it were such an obvious solution, Arsene would have already played him there.

  82. Pedantic, what you fail to understand is that wilshere is more talented than all our midfielders bar rosicky – we are talking about a player that made his arsenal debut at the age of 16, national debut at 18, voted man of the match against barcelona at 19, young player of the year age 19, lol pedantic you are having a larf.

  83. pedantic george

    Desie,What he starts before Rosicky in a position he has not played one minute in as a senior player.and after a year out???????
    You are fucking nuts mate.

  84. Pedantic, nobody said he would take arterta’s place, in case you have forgotten he was brought up as an attacking midfielder.

  85. Andy

    Are you still trtying to convince people that the central role requires more defensive work than the wide forward one? Come off it mate, you are wrong, just deal with it dude! 🙂

  86. Yep, thats what i believe george, hes a shoe in 🙂

  87. pedantic george

    khalifha.If it was all about talent then Arshavin starts every game and plays where he wants.
    Jack is a talent ,but at this time Arteta and Song are considerably better than him.
    Thats how it works you know.Young players with talent still have to mature.

  88. pedantic george

    khalifha, he has not played one minute in as a senior player.
    I dont give a fuck where he played in the under 11’s

  89. I think some people dont know what position jack plays in TBH? He hasn’t really played the attacking midfielder role for the 1st team. his assists and goals are pretty non-existent. He may well develop into that role, but he is more of a central midfielder, or he was, probably more akin to Arteta’s role. It will be really interesting to see how things pan out. You never kniow, we may actually have some resious competition for places next season!

  90. Wilshere will slowly be intergrated back into the side over the course of the season. I don’t think there is any doubt that his future lies as our advanced midfiedler though.

    One worry though is the standard of performces on his return. We only have to look at Ramsey to what a sustained period of injury can do to a player. Before his leg break Ramsey really did look the business. Since his return he has been pretty poor, and if not for injuries to Diaby and Wilshere would have played much much less this year.

  91. But i do think we are facing a dilema in the AM position, we have 3 quality players that can play there – wilshere,rosicky,ramsey, but none of them have proven themselves over the course of a season, what to do?

  92. I can’t believe I am in a debate where I am (almost) siding with PG!

  93. Dexter – No mate. Just saying that our advanced midfielder still puts in a good shift, something AA can be reluctant to do. It certaibly is not a luxury role

    More importantly Arsene has hardly ever employed a forward in that role. He always opts for a midfielder player. AA is certainly not a midfield player.

  94. Andy

    Some times I think we are actually cursed man! It’s normal to have injuries to players, but the scale and length of ours is fucked up!

  95. Dexter – Jack played the att midfielder role at all levels with Arsenal. Only in the first team has he played deeper. He could quite easily play both I would think, but his ability on dribble may be better served further forward. Him just in front of Song/Arteta is mouth watering.

  96. pedantic george

    “Dexter | May 16, 2012 at 11:50 am
    I think some people dont know what position jack plays in TBH? He hasn’t really played the attacking midfielder role for the 1st team. his assists and goals are pretty non-existent.”

    Thank fuck someone sees it.
    He played a full season and returned 1 goal and 3 assists,And people have him a shoe in as an AM.
    No wonder I lose the plot from time to time.with some people.

  97. Pedantic, simmer down, you brought this on yourself by saying wilshere might be 5th choice (smoke much?)

    I doubt wilshere will face the same problem as ramsey, their style of play is different e.g wilshere is more akin to arterta in that he hardly loses the ball due to excellent technique, and is a better dribbler(rosicky 2.0) while ramsey is more direct which leads to stray passes and loss of possession, i think that’s why people got on his back.

  98. Dex – I know, crazy eh? It would not surprise me in the slightest to see two of our players go for the same ball only to break each others legs.

  99. khalifha – Decent points.

  100. RVP is an Arsenal player and I believe he will stay provided the team is re enforced and equipped to compete for trophies. Over now to the board and the Boss for necessary action.

  101. pedantic george

    Andy Jack did not play there in the youth team.
    He played wide forward (Theos and G3’s place) more often than not

  102. Song is not in the same class as Wilshere. Don’t get me wrong, I rate Song, but as a defensive midfielder his tackling can be poor and he get’s booked too often. I agree that Jack needs to be eased in however.

  103. pedantic george

    And I have stated why I think he is 5th choice and backed them up .
    You argument is basically “I love Jack”

  104. “He played a full season and returned 1 goal and 3 assists,And people have him a shoe in as an AM.”

    Thats similar stats to Rosicky this season i do believe……..

  105. Pedantic, 1 goal 3 assists’ so fucking what? – he was playing behind cesc, his job was to keep the ball moving, play intricate passes around the box and let cesc do the rest. Anyone remember the match against tottenham in the carling cup? We won 4-1, lil jack dominated thugs like palacious and livermore at 18, guys this should not be an arguement.

  106. And Jack did that from a deeper position that Rosickys……….

  107. pedantic george

    khalifha,yes he played well that game ,but at 1,1 arshavin came on and showed what a proper AM looked like.
    He has never played there FFS,HE HAS BEEN OUT FOR A YEAR.
    What are you people thinking?

  108. Sure, Jack has only played one season, but his amazing talent was there for all to see. True, he only scored one goal, but Rosiky and Song are hardly goal machines either.

  109. Wilshere’s role was partly defined by playing next to the creative hub Fabregas.

    I think he can be freed up to play a more creative and attacking role than we have seen.

    I also think he has the panoply of skills to fulfil just about any role he wants.

    I think he will be eased back in to the side but it may not take as long as PG thinks – if as is hoped he is fit again for the start of the season.

  110. FWIW, when he returns, I think Wilshere will be on the bench, rotated into match fitness with Rosicky and Arteta. When he is fully match fit – after about 4 weeks as they play two matches a week pretty much at the start of the season – it will come down to form and fitness.

    If I had to guess which one he would come into the side for, I would say TR7 first, Arteta second.

    Personally, I would class JW as a proper midfielder. None of this poncy AM or DM, just a player who is equally comfortable in either role.

  111. Yogi thanks a lot for making us look bad – i might not have put my arguement for wilshere as No 1 across like that but my points are all valid.

  112. theBigM “I rate Song, but as a defensive midfielder his tackling can be poor and he get’s booked too often.”

    Oh my God.

    Regarding Wilshere I mostly agree with George. He’s been playing the Arteta role in the first team and there are a number of players ahead of him better suited to an attacking midfield role right now. Diaby, Rosicky, Ramsey, even the Ox. Arteta is ahead of him when both are fit, but Arteta will need a break. Not sure about Arshavin in the middle though. He hasn’t played centrally for 7 years, other than that spell where he was our centre forward a few years back 🙂

  113. Just want to go back to yesterday for a sec.

    Thanks FunGun!

    George, I don’t think your point changes what i was saying. After the first 7 matches the two top teams were only 7 points better than us. We may have lost to United but maybe not; we did split with them last season.

  114. Ramsey looked amazing before his leg smash. Jack has been out for a similar period, people need to chill their beans about him otherwise these same people will be slaggin off jack for not ‘doing it’ for us.


    I actually think we need to sign an AM, so we do have a real cutting edge there, someone who can create more than 3 and score more than 1! If it isnt going to be Arshavin (or RvP) then I do think a new signing is needed.

  115. What Yogi said…

  116. pedantic george

    For the record.
    I believe Jack can go on to be as good a player (apart from Dennis)as we have ever seen at Arsenal.
    He is a fabulous talent.And has ever attribute(with the possible exception of pure pace)that is required to be regarded as one of the best in the world ,let alone Arsenal.He is my 3rd favorite player at the club.
    But he is still 5th choice when he comes back.

  117. Jonny

    No need to crawl man, I basically said what Yogi did and I didnt get no props! 🙂

  118. Dex – I am with you on that (new AM signing). We have an abundance of midfielders, but not one who nessasrily ticks that box. AOC in the future maybe, but who now?

    That said, I don’t think it is a position where we a re desperate for a player, but it would still be a welcome signing. Given our current squad size, I honestly don’t see too many more signings though.

  119. Jack himself (and Arsene, I think) said he had to improve his goals and assists, so the idea of him being an automoatic choice for the most advanced midfield role is a bit of a stretch for me. I just want to see him back and playing for us, wherever that may be.

  120. pedantic george

    Paul N,Yes,but just saying that you can add the points that you could have reasonably expected to lose in the first 7 games ,too the 7 points we lost in the remaining part of the season.
    Then you can do as you say,and start reducing it because of mitigating circumstances like,the penalty embargo.
    So I am not really disagreeing with you.Am I ?

  121. It always amuses me to hear fans almost discount a bad run as though it should not really count. For example many are happy to write of the old trafford game as a freak result when totting up “how we could have done”. Do the same people chalk off the seven we got at Blackburn as a freak result also?

  122. So any news on the RVP contract talks? What kind of pen is ready for Robin to sign the contract with. Was the coffee he was offered of sufficient quality? Has the club found a fancy place for the talks to take place or is Robin stuck in the same bunker that convinced Tomas to sign on?

  123. Oxo Kid in the England squad apparantly. Not sure I am happy about that.

  124. Sorry Dex – I got bored of your jibber-jabber and stopped reading.


  125. I would rather he went to the Euro’s than the Olympics, so small mercies if true.

  126. Dex

    It’s speculation. Squad isn’t announced yet.

  127. Andy – one does have to look at the context. We were in great disarray after the summer of tumult – we had a threadbare squad which had lost two of it’s most important players.

    This was not a ‘bad run’ in the typical sense. I think we should be thankful and hugely impressed that we had had the fortitude to recover in the manner we did. It was a perilous situation and somehow (it’s almost beyond belief) we still finished third.

  128. People have too much time on their hands or the surefire way to garner up comments is talk about transfers if the over 100 comments is anything to go by. my take on the van persie issue is we have to resign him since he is amongst our best players,the other being song and koscielny. If he leaves it will be a sad day for us. Given that he is the player of the season and has all the awards to show for it anything less than 50m would be an insult,heck if andy & torres can cost as much as they did why not vp?

  129. George, I didn’t really take it as a disagreement, its just that the point is water tight and you tried to poke a little hole in it. (If I could do the smiley face, one would be here).

  130. Fristlady – “Given that he is the player of the season and has all the awards to show for it anything less than 50m would be an insult,heck if andy & torres can cost as much as they did why not vp

    I do agree with you, but given the palty amount we let Fabregas go for I would not hold my breath on a huge sum.

  131. Gervs was really more aggressive towards the end of the season. I think he will be great for us, next season. More goals!

  132. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, treading Theo Walcott’s path?

  133. pedantic george

    Andy ,you never cease to disappoint,do you?
    We regularly put 5 and 6 past Blackburn at home .So one more goal is hardly a “freak” result.
    There never has been a result like that in the history of Arsens’e reign.It is impossible to imagine a sequence of events that will ever allow an 8.2 again.So yes,given that,a “freak” result would pretty much describe it for me.
    So it does not meet your criteria of “freak” then?
    In that case please tell us what would have to happen for a result to be regarded as “freak” by you ?

  134. pedantic george

    Paul,I think you will find I “did” poke a little hole in it.

  135. 1308:
    England squad for Euro 2012:

    Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Rob Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich)

    Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Man United), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)

    Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Man United), James Milner (Man City)

    Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Man United), Danny Welbeck (Man United), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)

  136. Do you think that one of the reasons AOC and for that matter JW get selected when AW would rather they weren’t is that they are both pretty unique as English players of their respective types and of the required quality? In other words, if you need those types, there isn’t a lot of choice.

  137. George – It was just a thought. And made more to illustrate the point that it is not as simple as discounting a run of bad form/a particualr game when summerising the season. All of the things need to be taken account of, regardless of situation.

    Given Manure have put 6 past us in the past, I wonder if they include it as a freak result? 😉

  138. I can’t believe that Stuart Downing is in the Euro squad. Amazing.

  139. pedantic george

    So Andy,what you are saying is that you accept you were chatting shit.
    OK that’s fair enough.

  140. And it really is one of the weakest squads I have seen in a long time. Not that I care to be honest. As long as all the Arsnal fans come back not broken I will be happy.

    I may even get behind germany as I am over here just for shits and giggles. The atmosphere in the bars/big screens in the towns is amazing over here.

  141. Fans? Ha, I meant players.

  142. It’s extraordinary Andy – it can only be because of the paucity of quality options in that position.

    I’d sooner start AOC there than Downing. But then I’d sooner start a blancmange than Downing.

  143. Disappointing England squad, it was a good chance for the manager to clean out the Terrys, Lampards, Parkers, Barrys etc. who’ve failed previously and go with some younger players.

  144. goonerandy

    My thoughts exactly re; Downing.

    I will be surprised if England gets out of their group TBH. We play France (soneone break Nasri’s legs, ta) and one of the hosts as well as Sweden who we have a very poor record against.

    But we can always throw on Downing if we need a goal, or assist I guess! 🙂

  145. Andy; you have a great reason to support the germans man, you should! I am hoping to get over to Berlin, hopefully while the Euros are still on.

  146. Block4

    It really is a piss poor squad, but then again, England dont really have that many good players. Wilshere would have walked into the team, if fit. I just hope Oxo kid doesnt end up a national failure scapegoat.

    I feel sorry for Hodgson in a way, he’s pretty much fucked really. Hopefully by 2014, if the media havent gotten him the sack, he can have a right old clearout.

  147. Dex- Berlin would be great to watch a game. My local town was pretty rocking during the world cup; the Germans really do know how to party. I may make Dusseldorf my 2nd home during the competition. Great city for a night out.

    As it goes the first beer festival of the year starts tomorrow only a short cycle ride from my house. Whilst there last year, I ate a skewer of meat one metre long. One metre, just think of that. That and lovely German beer; I can’t wait.

  148. Andy Carroll, Downing, Milner, Barry, Young, Lampard are all so fucking average!

  149. Wilshire better than song?REALLY? Some people do make stupid comments and that one takes the cake for me. As for song’s form dipping this season i think alot of it has to do with burn out,he rarely missed games this season and seemed to play out of his skin most of the time and sometimes tried too much, some of the derided players (bendter,vela,denilson) did a job for us when we needed them so saying they werent upto Arsenal’s standard is a moot point. George &dex i do agree with you on wilshire.

  150. The squad is a bit thin in all areas. I think Wodgson’s organisational talents will be vital to get the best out of them.

  151. Pretty surprised he did not pick Micah Richards as well. He is a miles better full back than Johnson and can also play at centre back.

  152. I would have taken Adam Johnson, or even Micah Richards ahead of fucking Downing.

  153. The only decent striker in the squad is Rooney, and he is not even avilabe for the group stages. They will do well to get out of the group.

  154. Let us be happy that he is coming back to the team after a long layoff without undermining the efforts of his teammates who play the same role as his in the team. If i was Wenger my first priority would be ensure song,walcot and van persie’s contracts are sorted out and that the injured will be back for the coming season and obviously selling those that are surplus to our requirements,anyone else coming in would be a bonus.

  155. Good mix of experience and youth.Roy has been there and seen it all.I back him to succeed with this team in the euros.

  156. Yeah, good point. Micah Richards should have gone. Oh my god! Jagielka’s not even in the squad, just a stand by option, as is Sturridge and the appallingly average Jordan “worth every penny” Henderson.

  157. patesc

    Funniest post of the day man.

  158. Ha, the Spuds are the long ball team of the lge:

    I feel a bit for Hodgson, he is on a hiding to nothing. If they do well Cappello will get the credit, if they do the normal he will be discmissed as unable to motivate the players. As it is, he could not really overhaul the squad so close to a tournament. It will be interesting to see his first squad after the Euro’s. Especially if England do rubbish as normal.

  159. And Rio should have goone ahead of the racist too.

  160. Andy

    Re; strikers. I quite like Welbeck, but for me Sturridge should be in the 23. Ahead of the big geordie lump and spud bench warmer.

  161. Dex – Yeah, Welbeck looks pretty lively. Sturridge too. I would not have tekn Defoe, but I can understand the logic of taking Carrol. He does hold the ball up well and is a good option to go more direct if need be. Which, this being England there will be.

    With the likes of Wilshere, Cleverly and Scholes missing I don’t see England playing a particularly effective posession game. Playing direct and getting the likes of Theo and Gerrard making runs past Carrol may be the way to go for them. At least until Rooney is availabe again (should they get that far).

  162. That England team sucks is that really the best you manager could do? I pity you and if you do get out of the group stages you would have overchieved.
    andy you are forgetting cesc held us at ransom and we couldnt squeeze a cent more out of barca since we couldnt sell him to the highest bidder. Nasri cost about 25m give or take two and he wasnt a quarter of the player that van persie is,i’d rather the captain stayed but if we cant keep him then by all means lets milk the deal for all it is worth!

  163. Firstlady – Argh, we have done this argument to death. I believe that we should have named our valuation and then just stuck to it, If Barca came up with the cash, then great, he could have been sold. If not, he was under contract and any grievence he had he could have taken up with Barac for not coughing up. That is how I saw it, and still think we got screwed over.

    The Cesc and Nasri transfers were completely different due to the contract situations. It does not matter how many “bidders” there are if none of them meet a valuation for a player we don’t want to sell in the first place.

  164. GAndy

    I think the team will be set up not to lose man! And yep, can ‘t see us holding onto the pesky round thing for more than 2 passes ay a time. No one in the centre of midfield will be able to hang onto possesion (I’d have gone with Joe Cole there) Milner is a cart horse and Barry an old nag, so can’t see much happening in the engine room, unless for the very first time Gerrard actually plays well for his country, but he hasnt even geen doiong that for liverpool so no chance there then. lampard is on the decline as well.

    Looks like it will be long balls, knock downs and hoping for bits and pieces.

    Very uninspiring I am afraid.

  165. We did cave in to cesc as the selfish little madam refused to play for us. In hindsight (such a beautiful thing) we should have hung onto him, even though he would have had a hissy fit, if for no other reason, for the comedy value.

    I mean, we couldnt have started the season any worse now could we? 🙂

  166. Dex – That sounds about right. Both Yong and Theo will really have to perform well for Englgland to do anything. It would not surprise me to see AOC take his chance if given one though. Sometimes a wildcard can energise a team.

    As I said, I don’t really care how it goes as long as all of our players remain injury free.

  167. Dex – “We did cave in to cesc as the selfish little madam refused to play for us”

    We don’t know that to be the case at all though do we? It was not reported anywhere, and nobody from the club suggested that happened. As it goes I think Cesc had far too much repect for Arsene to do that.

  168. 1411;
    Jean Olivier-Marty on Twitter: “I am very happy with Carroll, Downing and Johnson in the squad… as a France supporter…”
    True dat

  169. Mahatma;

    I knew you’d take the cesc refusing to play bait! 🙂 (although personally, I believe that is what happened. I guess we’ll have to wait for Arsene’s memoirs though)

  170. @GA
    Wasn’t he “injured” during his last days with us but could play a game a couple of days after he signed for Barca?

  171. Dex – Heh.

    Evil – He was, although I do recall him missing the first few Barca games. And that happens with countless transfers.

  172. GA

    The Cesc rumour re not playing came from Twitter. I know who I think started it – they are still to this day the main proponent of this view. When challenged, it was something they’ve been told by a confidential source.

    That source is about as reliable as mine who claim that the earth is actually a cube which cunningly uses a perception filter to disguise it shape, making it seem a globe. According to my source, in 2011 there were 127 deaths from people quite literally falling off the edge of the world as a result.

  173. GA

    Rooney will do an Arshavin. Come back into the side and marshal a team who have no expectations, into the semi-finals. Of course, it will all go tits up (or down) when Rooney is caught in the local Darby and Joan club, on the pull.

  174. Yogi:

    thanks again for a great post. Much as I love Hunter I sort of miss Big Brover. I never will understand what the fascination about being first. I did it once and nothing special happened.

    Really hope we do what it takes to sign RVP. I wrote this the other evening but he was been one of the top 3 – 5 goal scorers in the world for the last couple of years and has probably has one of the lowest weekly wages of any lead striker of any “big club” in the world. He could have raised a stink and demanded to be sold or renegotiate his contract blah blah blah but he has been a fantastic captain and a great performer. Certainly the club stuck with him thru some times when he was not that productive but over the course of his contract things have evened out between him and the club. He deserved to be paid much closer to what he is worth in the open market. He is a fantastic player and hopefully the club will not play hard ball with him.

    If he does not sign I am of 2 minds regarding letting him finish his contract and then go on the free the following year. The strategy of keeping a player when they want a move has never been very successful, although I do think RVP has a different mentality then some of the other players we have kept 1 year too long. Without him in the squad next season are in trouble, but turning down $30 – 35M we could use to buy a replacement and pay off stadium debt is not a small matter, so that will be a tough decision. Hopefully its a decision we will not have to make.

    I agree with George regarding Jack W. His is going to be a fantastic player but throwing him into the Cesc/TR7 role next season when he has never played there in the PL and been out of action for a full year is unthinkable if our goal is to realistically compete with the Manc clubs next season.

  175. YW – Heh, quite.

  176. @ Evil
    During what turned out to be Cesc’s last couple of weeks Arsene said that he *was* fit, but that his head wasn’t right and that’s why he couldn’t play him.

  177. @GA
    Well, I checked and he signed for them August 15th and played August 18th in the Spanish Community Shield equivalent against Real. I do really wonder what injury it is that made it impossible for him to play our first match against Newcastle (or any of the pre-season friendlies) but allowed him to make a sub appearance for Barca and then start in their subsequent liga matches.

  178. Yeah, the old ‘head want right’ flannel. In other words, he wont play for us coz he wants out. If that was the case, he wouldn’t have gone to barca as they didnt come up the figure we wanted. They got him on the cheap as cesc forced it through. Agreed, most of that is my take on it and until there is concrete evidence either way, I guess I’ll be sticking to it. 🙂

  179. YW – Heh, I would imagine that there are plenty of old birds for Wayne to get stuck into in the Ukraine as well.

    Evil – When a transfer is being negotiaited is is fairly common practice for a player not to play any games so they don’t get injured. Covering this with an injury story simply stops public knowledge of any negotiation. It does not point to a player refusing to play.

  180. Dex – That is fair enough. Your opinion, and your take. Mine is different but all is good 🙂 Is is when some posters start spouting random “facts” when things get heated and decend into slanging matches.

  181. Nasri, to do him credit, did play when we needed him to.

  182. @FG
    Great example. For all the non-loyality Nasri showed and all the stuff he said, when it mattered he played for us against Liverpool. But Cesc, who often said how much the club and everything means to us, just couldn’t bring himself to play in a game against Newcastle?

  183. I just think that we excelled ourselves in the Nasri transfer, but really did not cover ourselves in glory with the Cesc one. The bottom line is that we let arguably the most sought after midfielder in Europe be sold for a pretty small fee (in comparrison) even though he was under a long contract. Just bad business.

  184. It was the blueprint for our season; some brilliance and some utter crap.

  185. has there been any news abt rvp?

  186. I think we showed cesc too much respect and love for that matter. Not any more! Are you listening Mr van Persie??? 🙂

  187. They have not finished their mid-noon tea and scones yet I would imagine. Ivan picking up the crumbs around Robins feet, no doubt aiming to make him even more comfortable. I do hope so.

  188. Andy @ 2:38:

    Your point is accurate but Cesc’s determination to go back to Barca meant there was never going to be a bidding war. You may disagree with this but watching the team play it felt like we probably kept Cesc one year too long, and his value was not going to increase. Say whatever you want but the club really did have its hands tied behind its back on this one. It was time to get the best possible deal we could, clear him out and rebuild.

  189. Bill – I don’t know why people are so enthralled with the idea of a bidding war. If I go into a shop to buy a bag of crisps, I don’t get it any cheaper if nobody else is trying to buy the same bag. Our valuation should be set regardless of how many clubs are trying to buy the player.

    If you are actively trying to get rid of a player things are then different; you have to take what you can get, but this was not the case. If you want to get rid of a player then you may have to make sacrifices. But we didn’t need to make sacrifices in this case.

    The fact that they were skint was not our problem. What if they had said “we only have £20M” Should we have taken that as we were being “forced” to sell him?

  190. One last thing on the ancient history. I think Wenger thought cesc would stay for one more year and that didnt happen for whatever reason (because the dirty catalan c*nt reneged on their gentlemans agreement thats what! 🙂 )

  191. But Bill, Ronaldo made it abundantly clear he wanted to go to Madrid. He did so with an 80million fee. The truth is we fucked the Cesc deal up, pure and simple. We let our best player with years on his contract go for half his valuation. It was bad business. FFS even the spuds got it right with Modric when Chelsea looked for the player. I said at the time and I truly believe our manager and his captain had agreed his departure for some time which makes his leaving without a replacement all the worse. However, look forward and hope we are more business-like with our current captain.

  192. JD – Yup, spot on.

  193. I understand your points but in my mind we really did need to get rid of Cesc. The mentality and culture surrounding that squad was going downhill fast. The last 1/3 of his final season we had almost of full squad with very few major injury issues and we had the most talented team in the league on paper and we just plain stunk. We mailed in the end of that season. Blaming it on the disappointment of the CC loss is a major cop out to me. I know it was not just Cesc and I have no way to prove this but I can’t believe that our “best player” being unhappy was not part of bad culture that lead to those results and that would not have gotten better if he had stayed. Thats just my opinion, which along with $5 will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

  194. Bill – Yeah, we will mate 🙂

  195. This is old news and no doubt will stir up old disagreements. But IMHO it is clear we let Cesc leave too cheaply. Even Barca laughed at us afterwards.

    Given that transfer payments are structured over time we should have just said FINE THEN. You pay us X but do it over the next 6//8/10 years instead. But X should have been determined by us and stuck to.

    We acquiesced for the sake of Cesc, which is noble and extraordinary in this football world. Being noble is it’s own reward which is good, because it will yield little else – as we found out when they started gloating and rubbing our noses in it.

  196. Cesc is not a daft bloke. If we had said, “you can leave, but Barca must pay £50M” he would have know that was a reasonable stance to take. if that did not happen, his beef should have been with Barca (paid in excess of £20M for Sanchez a few weeks later), not us.

  197. Since we’re all throwing opinions around, mine is that Wenger misjudged Cesc’s loyalty and willingness to stay, or his own ability to convince the boy to wait one more year, again. He may have misjudged Nasri’s state of mind too, but I find it hard to believe he could be wrong in that kind of thing twice!

    I also think that if Arsene had realized just how much Cesc’s mind was made up, the negotiations would have gone different, at least wrt to price if not timing.

    Our timing on both Cesc’s and Nasri’s sale was awful, and I wonder why the club let it drag out that long. If its to get a top price, does that mean someone at the club figured that the extra value we got would be worth the problems associated with losing two of our best players at that point in the season? Should the wheeling and dealing not have started way earlier, as least for Nasri who’s case was (I imagine) more clear cut?

    All in all, I hope the lessons have been learnt and the RvP situation is handled a lot better, in the unlikely event he decides to go elsewhere.

  198. Henristic – Decent points.

  199. All of you are chatting opinions, not facts, at least I had the temerity to admit that. 🙂

  200. Too many times in recent seasons some our best players have been coveted by other teams and for whatever reason have been allowed to go at prices dictated by the buyer. Only the deals for Adebayor, Nasri, Anelka and Overmars (because Petit was thrown in) seem to have been really good deals for us as selling club. For whatever reason we have ended up being almost forced to sell players we wouldn’t normally have wanted to go – Henry, Fabregas, Vieira (but that was well timed in the end), Hleb etc all seem to be courted by other teams under our noses. Even the deals where we got a good price were not instigated by us. I don’t recall any of the other teams who have consistently been at the top of the premiership having such a high turn over of key players. Its amazing how we have managed to do it considering the yearly exodus.

  201. Wavey – “I don’t recall any of the other teams who have consistently been at the top of the premiership having such a high turn over of key players. Its amazing how we have managed to do it considering the yearly exodus.

    This is the key point. Especially so with the RvP situation. It is all well and good signing players (like Podolski and Gervihno), but all the while we are losing other key members of the squad we are treadnig water and not improving. Adding quality to quality is the way to imporve. Add, not replace.

  202. And correct me if im wrong but last summer was the biggest turnover in the squad for many a year, perhaps ever, the number of ins and outs was quite amazing really

  203. Diese:

    “And correct me if im wrong but last summer was the biggest turnover in the squad for many a year, perhaps ever, the number of ins and outs was quite amazing really”

    That was all part of the issue that I described in the comment @ 3:07 I suspect.

  204. Whilst I’m not a great fan of SAF, I have to admit that I admire his policy of adding two or three players each summer. He doesn’t always pick the best additions, but he doesn’t lose too many players which means his first team isn’t usually compromised. His one glaring failure has been to find a replacement for Scholes, but even then he has managed to get the player himself to come out of retirement and fill the gap until a replacement is found.

  205. Limestonegunner

    PG @10:54–excellent football comment. Song wouldn’t necessarily have more assists playing very far forward. He might have far fewer. Getting someone to add to the defensive side of midfield would be great to keep him fresh, on his toes, and to play alongside him to give him more freedom or to lock down and hold a lead. We want that versatility, but not because he should be starting where Rosicky plays, I think.

  206. Andy @ 3.26,
    In a sense its no wonder we’ve been unable to ‘go further’ in our quest for the title. Since the move to the emirates, we’ve tended to replace instead of adding quality to quality as you say. All the other teams that have won the title (or did a better job of competing) have been able to do just that.

    Maybe our problem isn’t so much our high spending competition, but the fact that we keep haemorrhaging key players? Of course we’ve lost some of these players to said competition, but did we really have to? If we did, then what’s to stop it from happening again, and again?

  207. Limestonegunner

    After a long season where he played every PL match, most CL matches, and the Euro tournament, I expect RvP to need some rest before returning and not to play quite as many games. Dare I say it, it is possible he won’t be quite as sharp. So having Podolski and another striker like Chamakh/Park/Afobe is good for the squad and perhaps they’ll have more opportunities for a variety of reasons next season.

  208. Dex
    While I have no wish to look back over old ground, the mess we made of the Cesc transfers should not be underestimated, particularly from a Club which I felt always did things the “right way”.
    Cesc was our Captain FACT
    Cesc was our best and most valuable player FACT
    Cesc had a number of years left on his contract FACT
    Cesc was sold for half his value FACT
    Our business here wasn’t good, it was terrible, but I say again lets move on and show we have learnt from our mistakes.

  209. Correction:
    …but more the fact that…

  210. Henristic

    Does this explain to some extent AW’s recent comments on how it is key to get current squad players signed up on new contracts?

  211. I think that RVP will stay just my opinion because unlike Cesc(who has always said he wanted to go back), it just seems completely different. Now I could be completely wrong in my thinking but I think that he wants to be the Captain that returns Arsenal to winning trophies. Its not only the performance on the pitch but its the class shown off the pitch as well as in the lockerroom with the leadership. He seems to have united the team in a way we haven’t seen in years. Now he could rip everybody’s heart out by leaving but I dont think thats it. I think same with Song and Theo, all three have a deeper connection to Arsenal and though Theo wants to play centrally I think he is starting to realize that as a winger in our system he will have just as many chances to score due to the free nature of which the front 3 play with, with the ability to switch positions freely.

    On the England squad callups. We all knew Ox was going to get called up.

    Interesting link my friend just text me. Yaya Toure’s agent says that Yaya wants to leave Manshitty this summer. If that happens their finished.

  212. Wavey

    I dont agree with your comment. Although I agree its almost impossible to compete wheile each summer wehave to fight and then eventually lose our better players. However, henry and Vieira werent sold on the cheap, nor was Hleb etc. Only Cesc, ut seems anyway went for less than his market value.

    And feguson has had gazillions to spend on players, vastly over paying for many, so again, I don’t agree with that point either.

  213. JD

    Thanks for giving me your opinion there. Not really sure why you did, but thanks all the same.

  214. C;

    Nah, it will mean they try and sign RvP AND Song! 🙂

  215. Some players were let go willingly, that’s not the issue. Selling Henry, Viera or as a more recent example Clichy and Eduardo, I don’t think that that has hurt us. However, losing players we’d have prepared to keep like Flamini, Gallas and obviously more recently Cesc or nasri was what really made a negative impact and hampered us. On some of those transfers I guess the club should’ve done better, but in some cases our hand was forced and we didn’t really have much choice.

  216. Limestonegunner

    Khalifa at 11:50am–that’s the crux of the question. It’s why I would entertain strengthening in that position, unless AW is absolutely confident Ramsey will be better next season and that is his position. Because otherwise, we lack some creativity in the side. The Ox is another, but future, possibility. The other way to go is to get another defensive midfielder and hope that the other two can create more: whether Rosicky, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Wilshere or Diaby. Since the latter two are doubts for form and fitness having been out so long and it isn’t Song’s natural game to play that far forward as the creative hub, this is a real question mark.

  217. A while ago, I read a snippet somewhere where M’vila was reported to have said something like ‘I expend too much effort looking for a great through ball that I sometimes lose focus of my defensive duties’. did anyone else see that report?

    I thought the sentiment might also partly explain Song’s poor form in some games this season. Especially with the knowledge that if he doesn’t give that ‘great ball’, its likely no one else will. Arteta was great in that respect as he was able to keep things balanced. Ramsey not so much. Maybe we’ll see more of Coq in that position next season, although if Wilshere is fit, he’s probably get the nod. He is a more complete midfielder than either Ramsey or the Coq and has the ability to play both the Rosicky and Arteta role better.

  218. I thought cesc was sold for 35million, what is he worth? Man city bought aguero for 38million, so what point are you all trying to make?

  219. @Dexter

    Their already trying to do that. But I honestly believe that if/when RVP signs Song and Theo will follow suit immediately. If Yaya Toure(who by the way makes £260,000 per week) leaves they will fall quickly.


  220. khalifha

    Cesc was sold for €35 million about £29 million

  221. Limestone, yea, that position needs to be addressed.

    Like i said sometime ago, i am sick and tired of other clubs buying our captains – Viera,Henry,Gallas,Cesc, can’t we just give squillaci the freaking armband.
    Also, let us look at chamberlain’s call up from this angle – Wenger was questioned by the press and fans for paying 12 million for a 17 year old teenager but 9months later this player has been called up to Euro 2012 before making his England debut, in wenger i trust(sometimes) every fucking day of the week and bank holidays too.

  222. Limestonegunner

    Interesting that there is no Micah Richards or Kyle Walker backing up Glen Johnson. I guess he figures one of the CB’s could play there if needed.

    Including the Ox makes no sense and given that Downing is unfathomably in the team, there’s actually a chance he could play.

    It is a disappointing squad given the opportunity to play younger players and build for 2014 in Brazil. Hodgson must be worried that if a young team doesn’t do well, there would be calls for his head. In fact, it was a chance to lower expectations and grow a proper team, I think.

    Who would your alternate team be that tried to give more younger players a chance (maybe not in every position but with an eye to 2014)?

  223. Limestonegunner

    The big shocker is of course Terry. Hodgson has really disappointed me there. I expected better from him.

  224. Khalifha

    Stop it! They want to slag off the club this afternoon. It was in the memo, you can’t have received it! 🙂

  225. Dupsff

    Is that a FACT? I thought, like khalifha it was pounds sterling dude.

  226. It seems KKK has left LFC. Well according to the media

  227. Dex

    Far as I remember the deal was in yoyos not sterling

  228. Limestone

    I dont think there are many alternatives out there really? Perhaps one or 2 from Swansea? Adam Johnson, Micah and Sturridge?

    I too am disapointed he is taking Terry. He had a perfect reason for leaving him behind.

  229. @ Henristic

    I haven’t read that report but I have watched him play for France and he is dominant as a DM and doesn’t lose focus. Thus I think that comment was made in regards to playing at Rennes were he must be both the AM and DM despite playing as a DM. I do think Song takes it upon himself like you said but I also believe that he reads the game so well most of the time and believes and does pull off those “great balls”. While i do think Arteta can and has and Mozart obviously does time and time again, I wonder if its not be design to have a 3 layered midfield with all 3 being able to play the killer ball with no problem at all.

  230. Dups and everyone else
    Let us not be greedy, we brought cesc from the barca academy at the age of 16 for 400,000€ and he contributed 100 goals and 57assists in 300matches which lead to us qualifying for the champions league year after year ( roughly 40million for qualification) and we sold him for 35million euros(Damn) – i don’t know about you guys but barca was definately the club that got ripped off, BIG TIME.

  231. On 15 August 2011, Barcelona signed Fàbregas for an initial fee of £29 million (€34 million) with a further £4 million (€5 million) in variables,

  232. arsenalandrew

    Dups – and not a moment too soon.

  233. Dupsff

    In fact I recall the hacks being rather positive about the deal we did actually strike. Probably mainly due to the supposed 1st option buy back clause bollocks! But I distinctly remember it being in £££s! Then again, if it was undisclosed, then no one really knows do they?

  234. I probably didn’t make my point particularly well, but I was more trying say that I felt we tended to let key players go when they wanted to go. Of the players mentioned have instigated their moves, its not like Arsenal have had an approach and then thought that’s an attractive bid, we’ll take that. In most cases the player has either angled for a move, or has been so shamefully courted in the press it has been embarrassing. I mentioned Hled who I think makes the point well, he grumbled in the press about London been a very noisy place to live when compared to Stuttgart and then joined Barcelona.

    Whilst SAF has indulged himself and payed silly money for some players he has been desperate to get hold of, he has also had a steady stream of cheaper players coming through to augment his squad. Again without compromising his first team by continuing to sell key players.

    As GA picked up, I think its about being able to add qulaity rather than keep having to try to replace it.

  235. As you can plainly see. We were ripped off

  236. Looking at the England squad I find it hilarious that Downing is in the squad and Micah Richards isn’t. Its also funny how every media outlet was already giving the starting nod to Kyle Walker and he didn’t even make the squad.

  237. Dalglish has been sacked then

  238. arsenalandrew

    And not a moment too soon.

  239. Dexter, no man, am glad i didn’t get the memo, its as if a dark cloud descended on aclf this afternoon.

    Limestone, kyle walker is injured and micah richards is not an international class defender(my opinion).

  240. Limestonegunner

    Toure has said that he would like to go back to Barcelona some day. That would be excellent for us. Excellent. More excellent of course would be if he joined Arsenal, but since that isn’t happening, let him go outside the PL.

  241. arsenalandrew

    Very funny Dups. Excellent, in fact!

  242. Wavey

    Again, I dont agree. Vieira was off the season before he actually did go, we missed out on loadsa money by him staying an extra year. Henry was a shock, but again we had his best years. Nasri had a year left and that made things well tricky, perhaps the board forced the transfer as they didnt fancy letting him leave on a free? Cesc was very disapointing though but that will pale by comparison if RvP goes this summer.

  243. Limestonegunner

    Dexter, that’s probably the bigger problem. Who to pick? The ranks are depleted. Until Gibbs, the Ox, JW, and Theo are all starting in 2014.

  244. So the last to managers to win the milk cup lost their jobs at the end of the season. It seems that trophy is not worth winning. 🙂

  245. seems like no decision has been made re rvp.

    seems like dalglish has been sacked. why did he get sacked? because he finished out of top 3 and won a cup.

  246. Ha, King Cunny has been sacked.

  247. dalglish has been brilliant for them, to be honest. they won silverware. looking at their team, the carling cup was their only chance of success.


    Thanks to ladyarse on twitter for the link

  249. i have a bad feeling bayern are going to choke on saturday.

  250. I have the same, korihikage..

  251. 23 April – Tony Evans ‏ @TonyEvansTimes

    Save this as a favourite to come back at me in a year. Kenny Dalglish is a football genius. Let’s see who’s right

  252. Reposted – Dups and everyone else
    Let us not be greedy, we
    brought cesc from the barca
    academy at the age of 16 for
    400,000€ and he contributed
    100 goals and 57assists in
    300matches which lead to us
    qualifying for the champions
    league year after year
    ( roughly 40million for
    qualification) and we sold him
    for 35million euros(Damn) – i
    don’t know about you guys but barca was definately the club ripped off, BIG TIME.

  253. JD said – “Cesc was our best and most valuable player FACT”

    Not for me, that is an opinion.

    Most valuable in terms of selling fee, maybe, but RVP was our best and most valuable player last season. Would have been for many, if he was not injured.

  254. Limestonegunner

    Yeah, the talk of home stadium advantage is a bit overblown. The atmosphere will be quite different and that might feel weird with all the UEFA folks and glitterati attending, plus larger contingent of Chelsea fans than a typical away group.

    Everyone glosses over that they have lost their starting DM and fullbacks; not just Chelsea with major absentees.

    Hate to see Chelsea win this, though. It would rescue their season.

  255. Liverpool are so fucked up right now, they fire Daglish after they win silverware but finish outside the top 3. Part of the reason why they looked like shit is the loss of Lucas Levia.

  256. “Despite winning the FA Cup and reaching the Carling Cup final, the Reds finished eighth in the top flight having lost as many games as they won.”

    BBC Fail.

  257. Limestonegunner

    I think their target was top 4. It is only being talked about as top 3 because of this Chelsea situation.

  258. Oh they changed it already, the sneaky bastards.

  259. George, I was only joking with my comment but you didn’t.

  260. Limestonegunner

    So if Skrtel is considering a move away since there isn’t any CL football, maybe there are others thinking about it.

    I’m hard pressed to think of even one player they have that I would want for our squad. Anyone? Maybe Leiva. But probably not. It’s too late now for Reina and frankly he hasn’t had a great season.

  261. It was all a referee conspiracy that held down Liverpool and doomed poor King Kenny. Just ask him.

  262. Un)Official LFC ‏ @OfficialLFC

    DALGLISH: LFC would like to thank Kenny for his hard work in establishing the club at the top end of the middle of the Premier League.

  263. LG

    I honestly cannot think of anyone I’d want from LFC.

  264. Another snide little remark from Bill.

  265. LG, Skrtel is one of the best & the most consistent CBs in the league; would love to see him in red & white!

  266. Skrtel and Agger both decent defenders.

  267. @LG

    I agree that Bayern’s starting DM and fullbacks are massive but I honestly believe that if they come out and attack like i think they will that they will overwhelm the Chavs with their attack.

  268. mj_gunner

    Do you think Skrtel would get away with the shirt pulling in an AFC shirt?

  269. well if bilbao get their act together next friday, barca might be regretting buying fabregas.

    a friend, self proclaimed die hard barca fan, was telling me he thinks fabregas has been shit. and i was just grinning to him: well u wanted him.

  270. arsenalandrew

    Perfectly comfortable to see the Chavs win on Saturday but only for the most negative of reasons – namely it will screw the Spuds and condemn them to a return to their natural league position of mid-table for many seasons to come as a raft of their best players sails out of Tottenham High Road at the earliest opportunity.

    The 2012 season will go down as their high water mark.

    Additionally, by all accounts, Roman has decided to get a new manager regardless of results in Germany so a Chav win will make him look even more stupid than he already is. They have a massive rebuilding job to do and winning that thing will make it harder to get rid of the players who delivered the one thing he’s coveted since taking over. That won’t stop him, of course, but it won’t exactly be a crowd-pleasing policy.

    They will also need a couple of seasons to get back to properly challenging for the top.

    Regardless of who wins the cup, either the Spuds or Chelsea will qualify for Europe next year.

    A Chav win is the most destructive option, from our point of view, at least; sure, a big win for them, but only fleeting success will follow.

    Delighted also to see the back of KKK. A top four finish was the minimum requirement for the owners, regardless of a lot of Kenny’s cup-talk bollocks.

    His brief reign was also a PR disaster like no other.

  271. Well Khalifha could be right about Barca getting screwed. If Cesc’ current play continues, would he have been worth the fee?

    As much as him leaving annoyed me, at present that kid is being wasted.

  272. @dups

    I’ll leave that to Bouldy..

  273. Dups @ 4:56:

    Makes the point, probably better then the old 10 paragraph novels I used to write. 🙂

  274. ‘Regardless of who wins the cup, either the Spuds or Chelsea will qualify for Europe next year’

    WRONG. spuds would still have to play the qualifiers. ok, lille, udinese, mönchengladbach and feyenoord don’t necessarily have it to knock them out comprehensively, but why not? could happen.

    chelsea need CL football next season to recruit the players they need for the rebuilding.

    ‘They have a massive rebuilding job to do and winning that thing will make it harder to get rid of the players who delivered the one thing he’s coveted since taking over.’

    well to be honest, i don’t see how that can be a problem to abramovic. he sacked ancelotti didnt he?

    if chelsea doesnt win, they have no CL football next season. sure some players might still join for ‘the project’ or the money, but i think most will end up going to man city instead.

  275. @korihikage | May 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I think he messed up the flow of which they played at. They are normally the best 1-2 touch passing team in the world but Cesc is more the type of player that needs the ball at his feet so he can asses the situation and then make the pass. Hoenstly I’m done talking Cesc its making me wanna through up but glad to see they didn’t win La Liga and CL with him they everybody thought they would.

    Honestly it doesn’t matter who wins on Saturday(even though I’m pulling for Bayern) because either the Spuds will need to qualify which will be a massive disaster due to half their squad either not wanting to be their or not sure if they will. Or if the Chavs win then they will still see their most dominant striker Drogba leave and he is the main reason why they are their and they will fail badly.

  276. arsenalandrew

    Korihikage – what are you talking about? You really think Bale et al will take a chance and hang around for the qualifiers? Why would they do that having got themselves in the shop window during the few months in which Spuds over-performed?

    You think ‘most’ of Chelsea’s team will go to $iteh if they don’t win the cup?

    What planet are you on? Why would Mancini want them?

  277. Song’s occassional lacklustre performances may have been due to lack of competition. I, however, suspect it was due to lack of cover and rest. My biggest complaint of Arsene is that his squads are too thin. There isn’t enough cover and rest for the first team players and they break down. Wilshere, Cesc, van Persie, Hleb, Rosicky, Gibbs, Diaby, Ramsey are not imposing large durable bodies. Overplaying mades them subject to injury. Song is more solid and robust and he seems to be less likely to be injured and and overplaying him results in fatigue. I often wonder if Arsenal need to put a bit more stress on physical strength and weight resistance to bulk their players up a bit. I know Man U places more influence on it. Players like Ronaldo and Nani improved much more once their bodies had bulked up to withstand the rigors of EPL play.

  278. The idea of Chelski winning the CL before we do or of John Terry holding that trophy. Both utterly rebarbative. However, Spurs cocking up their qualifiers or being spanked by Young Boys of Bern or some such, comedy gold. For Spurs, not being in the CL at all is not that different to having an abortive campaign before dropping into the Europa League. Either way they’re headed for the Europa League, everyone knows that, even they know that deep down. So for me, Chelsea to lose on Saturday, please. It will hurt them badly.

  279. Philmer, I agree that more squad rotation is needed. I also believe that Song played a bit too much and that lead to some of his not so good play. Overall, I think that (exhaustion) is why we had so many draws at the end of the season. Credit to the players though, they did dig a little deeper in the last match.

    I don’t think our players need to be any tougher, a little more rotation should take care of what we have see of late. The good thing is that going into next season, we do look like we can in fact rotate a bit more.

  280. andrew

    i don’t know about bale and co. and honestly i don’t care. my point is that if chelsea loses, spuds would still have to play in the playoffs. and i think there are some decent teams in there, though the best of the lot would surely be lille. mönchengladbach have lost their star striker reus to dortmund, udinese are probably gonna lose more players, feyenoord i really dont know. those are decent teams which can see off the spuds, though i cant guarantee that. if it happens, then it is the best possible scenario: both chelsea and spuds arent in the CL

    regarding players going city. NOT chelsea players. but chelsea targets like eden hazard. suppose hazard is actually more inclined to go to chelsea than city for some reason, if chelsea had no CL football, and there are other suitors, would he still go chelsea? probably not. maybe yes, if he believes in their so-called project (if they have one) or he wants the money.

    and i honestly believe if chelsea want to get rid of players, abramovic wun hesitate to pay them to dissolve whatever contract. that is what i meant.

    sorry i didnt express myself clear enough in the first place.

    so all in all, i honestly believe that in the interest of Arsenal Football Club and the world in general, chelsea losing would be massive.

  281. to add to my point:

    i see chelsea as more a threat to the spuds. abramovic does have money to pump in to rejuvenate the squad (screw the FFP. never going to happen)

    spuds on the other hand.. don’t really believe they can compete in the long term, unless man city loans them more players.

    so i would rather take the chance of seeing spuds in CL next season (though THAT i must stress is not a given, since they can jolly well get knocked out in the qualifier) if it means chelsea can be dealt a blow.

    as we have seen from the case of liverpool, the moment you drop out of the CL, it is not easy to come back.

    of course you could also argue that spurred on by the failure, abramovic will pump in even more money to sign even more players. in which case, it is really up to the players. they often stress the need for CL football, and i want to believe that is more important to them than money.

  282. Limestonegunner

    “Utterly rebarbative”, indeed! I agree with FG. First London team must be Arsenal.

  283. LG FG

    fully agreed. i think most people want chelsea to win only to mock spuds. but we can end up laughing at both 🙂

    be greedy, guys.

  284. pedantic george

    “Henristic | May 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm
    Since we’re all throwing opinions around, mine is that Wenger misjudged Cesc’s loyalty and willingness to stay, or his own ability to convince the boy to wait one more year, again. He may have misjudged Nasri’s state of mind too, but I find it hard to believe he could be wrong in that kind of thing twice!

    I also think that if Arsene had realized just how much Cesc’s mind was made up, the negotiations would have gone different, at least wrt to price if not timing.”

    I agree.H, Arsene’s only mistake was to think Cesc was as Loyal as him ,when in fact he was nothing but a conniving weasel.

    “Cesc was sold for half his value FACT”
    No mate ,”Opinion” and mine is we fleeced them .He is a cunt and a coward and anything over £20 million was us doing a Dick Turpin on them.

  285. arsenalandrew

    Korihikage – I take your point about the idea of neither Chelsea or the Spuds qualifying for Europe being a possibility and I defo agree with Fungunner re: the nauseating possibility of Terry getting anywhere near the CL Cup. Obviously I would have switched off my tv long before that moment. Take your point also re: the Chavs not being able to get the best players in, especially with Arsenal North now a real force in world football with both their dosh and their current league status.

    But I think the Chav’s, under Roman’s laughable ‘stewardship’ will prevail (ie, be in or around the top 6) for many years regardless of the result (suspect we may both agree on that); Tottenham, however, look to me to be much more vulnerable to circumstances.

    Whether Chelsea losing would be ‘massive’ is not something I really see, to be honest but the chance to put the Tots back in their mid-table place is not to be sniffed at, for me, at least.

  286. Limestonegunner

    I agree with Paul-N that we could use more rotation so that we don’t have a jaded first eleven or an out of form squad that can’t come in and do the job when injuries take their inevitable toll.

    However, to get to that point, AW needs a squad he trusts. That may require some strengthening in certain places. I like the situation, for example at LB–either Santos or Gibbs can start. Depending on the situation, opposition, rest of the squad and how the players combine, AW could pick either one with confidence, both should get games next season, and with rotation keeping them fit and in form they know they have competition for their place and will be ready if there is an injury.

  287. Agree that Chelsea is much more dangerous to us long term then Spuds. Spuds are not going to be able to keep their current team together and the Chavs could rebuild. Roman A is the most easily identified proximate cause of the current wage and transfer price inflation at least from the standpoint of the PL. For that reason I would much rather see Spuds in the CL rather then Chelsea next season.

  288. Not been a good week for sweaty sock managers has it,

  289. ‘But I think the Chav’s, under Roman’s laughable ‘stewardship’ will prevail (ie, be in or around the top 6) for many years regardless of the result (suspect we may both agree on that); Tottenham, however, look to me to be much more vulnerable to circumstances. ‘

    andrew you are right that i also think the chavs would stay in the top 6. but as long as we are in the top 3, they can be 5th or 6th 🙂

    anyway, i feel that the spuds are already vulnerable…with or without CL football. and their squad is thin. dun think they can cope with two competitions. so maybe CL football will cause them to go back to midtable?

    but i really want to see which player chelsea can sign without CL football.

  290. Jack W. should not be viewed as a first team player after a whole year off for injury. His slight nature (Height: 1.72m ; Weight: 68 kg ) means he’ll be often injured especially when you consider his relentless tenacious fearless no prisoners style. He’s a terrier but on occassion he’ll come up against a rottie.

  291. i would be patient with jack as well, after seeing the reaction to ramsey this season.

  292. arsenalandrew

    Agree with George; we did very well out of the deal given that we paid a pittance in the first place and acquired someone capable of playing a major role in delivering us into the top 4 for several seasons.

    I so hope we don’t lose RvP, but ultimately, given that he cost less than £3M, that would also be a good deal, financially.

    The over-arching problem, though, is as someone said earlier, we are simply replacing our best players the whole time (albeit on excellent fiscal terms) rather than adding to them.

    That’s not a criticism of AW, by the way – simply further acknowledgement of the extraordinary job he has been doing on our behalf for so many years.

    Once he is truly able to build – and retain – then things become interesting.

    Hopefully, starting with RvP, Theo and Alex.

  293. @ dupsffokcuf | May 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    What are “sweaty sock managers”?

  294. FG

    Jock managers.

  295. Limestonegunner

    Absolutely, Korikihage. Young Boys almost put Spuds out last time they went through the qualifiers. The teams are tougher this coming season and Udinese could really do them in. Di Natale is a fine striker and could do the damage nearly himself on the counterattack.

    Nothing good comes of Chelsea winning the CL unless Abramovich decides he’s achieved his goals and sells the club to a Kroenke type who wants to run them in a purely self-sustaining way. In that scenario, they become a smaller club than the Spuds perhaps.

  296. arsenalandrew

    korihikage – yes, Spuds ARE already vulnerable, you are dead right. On the other hand, if they spend the summer adding to what is currently a thin squad then they could yet cause us problems.

    I still don’t quite understand how they got hold of Van der Vaart. They almost sold Bale, at one point. And they kept Modric last summer, against all expectations. Somehow, Ledley King soldiers on …

    When we acquired Dennis B, we were then able to add to the squad with AW electing to retain an aging (but still brilliant) defence. I don’t want Van der Vaart being Spud’s Bergkampf moment. I do want to see their best players clear off – and the sooner the better.

    Agree also, it will be interesting to see how the Chavs do, recruiting players without the prospect of CL football.

    But just remember, $iteh managed it …

  297. Heh, some people have very short memories. Or memories that suit their agenda (regarding the Cesc situation). I would bet money that should RvP be sold, they will quickly change there mantra on him from “Arsenal through and through, our best player, love him” to “injury prone anyway, never could rely on him, good decision to sell”

    Fickle I believe is the phrase.

  298. @PG and Henristic

    I agree with you because i truly think that Arsene viewed Cesc like a father and son and was loyal all the way up to selling him back instead of laying down the law and making him stay.

  299. @ dups
    Ah. Shame. I was half-hoping that it meant managers who looked and smelt like sweaty socks.

  300. ‘rebarbative’. Wow…

    Dis ACLF sef!

  301. andy – when fans love a player and they feel they have got stung by said player you always see an outpouring of such sentiments – doubt that will ever change. But really fans will still love that player once the dust settles and there is still respect shown to the club by them.

    Sagnas missus has been signed up for next season!!

  302. pedantic george

    Andy,not me ,I remember exactly how much the little bastard hurt me,us and Arsene.
    And is RVP does the same I will be first to call him a Judas cunt.

  303. Limestonegunner

    The main point is that there are more challengers for these positions now. I think, if we take care of our business–retaining and adding quality–that we will progress forward ahead of the teams behind us and close the gap to the Mancs. We won’t be worrying as much about them if we build on this season.

    We’ve got some talented younger players who will hopefully improve, though I am cautious about JW contributing a great deal in the first two months of the season. Gibbs, Ox, JW, Ramsey, Ryo, Coquelin. We have some leaders now and experienced players like Arteta, RvP, Vermaelen. The GK is an improvement over previous seasons (though it wouldn’t go amiss having a good veteran backup for him to learn from). The spine is strong and we have tricky and/or pacy fullbacks and wide players. I expect Mertesacker, Santos and Gervinho to have adapted to the PL in their second season. Podolski adds to our front attack and backs up RvP, so he can be kept fresh.

    This is a good platform. If we hang onto RvP, Theo, and Song this season we could have high hopes with some additional experience or super talent in defence and midfield, especially. We’ve genuinely lacked some creativity and, apart from RvP, some fantasy. And we are letting in too many goals, alas. M’Villa and Vertonghen are the big rumours. With some players sold, like Vela, Bendtner and a few others out of contract and off the wage bill, we might be able to bring in Podolski and the other two (or an attacking midfielder instead of one of them) while breaking nearly even on transfers carrying over the surplus from last summer’s business. We have a genuine chance of challenging

  304. Yes George, you could say Cesc was disloyal, although my feelings toward him are a bit less negative.
    The main reason I don’t share your ‘disloyal’ view is that Cesc didn’t really lead Arsene on. It was clear to everyman and hs dog that Cesc wanted to go back to his home town club, unlike Flamini for example who as I recall led the club into thinking he would sign.

  305. George – You are nothing if not consistent 😉

  306. Limestonegunner

    In any case, we’ve all been lauding the unity and team spirit this season. Who is to say it wouldn’t have been worse with bad characters and malingering souls who wanted out dogging the side the whole year?

    What we want is to keep this foundation and its spirit and add talent and quality to it.

  307. pedantic george

    Henristic .of course he led him on .When he signed a long term contract it indicated he would be with us until he was about 27.
    If he intended to leave after two years he should have signed for a term that reflected that desire.
    No ,I am adamant ,he is a disloyal weaselly cunt.

  308. arsenalandrew

    Henristic – If Cesc wanted to go home so badly why did he sign that monster contract a few months earlier. Was the ink even properly dry – barely a year old, maybe? Four years to run, was it?

    Cesc’s head was very likely turned by his international team mates at a time of great success for the Spain side.

    I for one was appalled by his lack of ambition, absence of loyalty to Arsene, his failure to honour his word and his contract, and the fact that he was compliant in Barca’s best efforts to fuck us over a barrel.

    Apart from that, I really, really loved the guy.

    The RvP situation is very different although he could yet leave us. I’d be very disappointed if he didn’t stand by us as the club stood by him during his years (YEARS, mind) of injury.

    Apart from that, I’ll always love the guy.

  309. FG
    Ah. Shame. I was half-hoping that it meant managers who looked and smelt like sweaty socks.

    That may also be the case when you consider who they were:- McLeish, Kean, King Kenny and Coyle.

  310. I am actually quite shocked at what little news there has been regarding RVP today. Usually those journos are so quick to blow up the smallest twitter rumour and you’d expect there to be a steady stream of “Will he/won’t he” articles but today has been extremely quiet on the news front. I don’t know what to make of this silence.

  311. You really think Arsene expected Cesc to stay the length of his contract? Really? The long term contract had nothing to do with a thing called ‘resale value’?

    C’mon guys, I find it hard to believe you really think that, not in the modern game. You guys talk as if its unheard off for a player to sign a long term contract, just before his sale, to give some financial leverage to the seeling club. C.Ronaldo did it I think.

  312. George @ 6:33:

    I think you are over reacting to Cesc but really surprised to hear you say that about RVP. Do you think players should gratefully sign for their team no matter what the team is willing to pay them and no matter how much they could make elsewhere? How many teams would make reasonable offers under those conditions? Where else in life do you see that sort of one sided dominance in wage negotiations? Football generates megadollars and do you want all that money to go to the wealthy owners who do nothing but sit in their luxury boxes at the stadiums or at home somewhere in Colorado? I realize that player wages seem unreasonable to us normal people but who else should get the majority of the money generated by football if not the players?

  313. I am always curious why people feel players owe a greater debt to clubs that ‘stick by them’ during years they are crocked. I believe Arsenal have self interest when they stick by the player. It isn’t done as charity work. RvP’s resale value is greater today after sticking by him than it would have been if they attempted to sell him last year when he went by the nickname van Injury. Diaby is on contract – he is still on the books because the team hopes he comes good one day, not because they feel sorry for him and think he’s a nice guy down on his luck.
    If RvP refuses to sign a contract i won’t hate him for it. I understand he needs to think about himself and his family first, not you and me. Of course he has a greedy agent that might stand to gain more personally from a move to a bigger money club. That is what we are up against. If RvP moves I’ll blame the Arse board for their culture of not breaking the wage scale to keep the greater players like Nasri, Flamini, Adebayor ect. Their policy means the duffers like Denilson, Bendtner, Vela et al are rewarded disproportionately at a young age for mediocrity thus increasing the difficulty in moving them out.

  314. pedantic george

    “The long term contract had nothing to do with a thing called ‘resale value’?”
    Well quite clearly it did not ,did it?
    No ,btw I expected him to stay until he had 1 or 2 years left.And I think Arsene and the board did as well.

  315. pedantic george

    Philmar,I suspect your opinions are a reflection of you character.
    Do you always blame authority figures?

  316. @Henristic

    Here’s the issue that i find with him signing the contract and with the RVP situation. Don’t sign a massive contract and then allow for Barca players to drape shirts and everthing else all over you and then expect to be loved by Arsenal player and fans. Thus is the issue that he signed a massive contract and his loyalty was not in it, you look at players who have been loyal like Xavi, Del Piero, De Rossi, Scholes, Giggs they sign massive contracts but they stay and yes they all went to their respective clubs at the tender age of atleast 15 or 16 and o that is when Cesc was bought. I think the RVP situation is completely different because he has openly stated that he loves everything Arsenal and that there is no other distractions and he is loyal to Arsenal and Arsene unluck Cesc. That is the issue that everybody is having is dont sign meaning your pledging your loyalty and then fuck us over royally.

  317. @ dupsffokcuf | May 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm


    @ Evil | May 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm
    I bet that’s why they had the meeting at Arsene’s gaffe. The fewer people around to eavesdrop, to misconstrue an expression on someone’s face or a throwaway remark, or to look at their lunch napkin and extrapolate from that via Twitter, the better.

  318. “greater players like Nasri, Flamini, Adebayor ”

    Now that is fucking funny.

  319. Cesc and RVP cannot be looked upon the same at all. So far RVP has honored his current contract and has given his all. Cesc signed a long term contract and then acted like a punk the next blow wow season, crying about wanting to leave. Cesc did not give his all in his last season and sulked like a baby. He allowed his Barca chum to disrepect Arsenal, time and time again.

    IF RVP decides to leave, you have to accept it, but if he signs a long term contract and cries about leaving every season there after, then it is no different from Cesc. I doubt very much that that will happen.

    So, what is said about Cesc has nothing to do with his play, he was a great player for Arsenal, to deny that would be ridiculous.

  320. “Well quite clearly it did not ,did it?”

    Cue the guys who’ve been arguing we got ripped off.
    Btw, didn’t you just say we got more than he was worth?

    “No ,btw I expected him to stay until he had 1 or 2 years left.And I think Arsene and the board did as well.”

    Really? I bloody well hope Arsene and the board aren’t that clueless. It was clear as day he wanted to leave.

    George, you’re way more intelligent than these arguments you’re bring up. C’mon, now. Hate Cesc all you want, but these points don’t justify it.

  321. Philmar, not many teams would stick by a player that has been injured for the majority of their career with the team. To say that Arsenal have something to gain is a moot point because they already bought the blinkin player and they would not have if they didn’t think they would be an asset to the team.

  322. I agree with Paul @ 7:23:

    Cesc managed his desire to move very poorly. Clichy did a much better job.

    RVP is a completely different situation then Cesc and I really hope he stays but will not begrudge him or lose respect for him if he moves for financial reasons.

  323. Honestly I wish there were more players like Falcao, I just read some comments and this is kind of the way RVP has been going about it and i wish like i said more players would:

    United has also been linked with another high-profile signing of late in Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao. Though signing the prolific Colombian remains a long-shot, he was asked recently about the various clubs, including United, that are said to be interested in his signature.

    Manchester United or Chelsea?” he was asked, according to Tribal Football.

    “Atletico,” Falcao replied.

    “Real Madrid or Barcelona?” the interviewer then probed.

    “Atletico,” he again responded.

  324. So the post match comments between Roy & Arsene went a little like this?

    Arsene: “Bleedin’ ‘eck. Phew! So. Thanks for picking the reserve ‘keeper!”.
    Roy: “How is he? Tell me he’s fit. No broken toes. Please. Tell me the kid is fit?”
    Arsene: “I thought we agreed, little Jack is on enforced recovery leave.”
    Roy hesitates.
    Arsene: “Just kidding. The Ox is ready to be unleashed. Not a scratch. As promised. We gave him that push up, but we’ve kept him safe for you.”
    Roy: “Yes!”

    In truth looking at the Engerland squad, I hope and expect that AOC will not play that much this summer. If they got rid of some of the other ‘deadwood’ maybe. But it’s not going to happen.
    Roy wobbled when it came to the big decision.

  325. How many football brain cells does one need to rub together before they go ‘pop!’ and in the resulting smoke trails one is able determine the logic of why, say, the Arsenal Captain played so much this season?

    Answer, not many. We are talking about the Captain of a tream that suffered more trauma, required more restructuring then the team that required the aid of some crap Spud players, and some helpful cooks to sneak home fourth in the league.
    This season The Arse came third. Simples!
    Now those who are kept up in the dark fretting on this and that can all rest their weary heads upon this troublesome matter. HTH.

  326. tream = a team that one has been lucky enough to watch upon a stream and live at different times in a season.

  327. Bill/PaulN,

    I totally agree that Cesc mismanaged his desire to leave, but he is after all just a kid. Aside from that, footballers are hardly the most perceptive, reasonable people. I expect them to cock things like that up from time to time.

    But Cesc didn’t do anything particularly horrible imo. People accuse him of signing a long term contract, but that could even be considered decent thing to do from an AFC pov. Would we have got the price we ended up getting if he didn’t?

    Again, I’m not arguing he behaved well, but we’ve seen way more treacherous behaviour from other players. His departure was made to look worse because of Nasri’s situation. That’s hardly his fault. It wouldn’t look as bad if it was a one off, like CRonaldo for the mancs. But we did make a habit of selling good players, which put us in a rather worse situation than manure, PR wise.

  328. Cesc refused to play last summer for his club. It may not be horrible but it is a breach of contract.
    Wait! He was injured. My apologies.

  329. I sure do hope though that Alex and Theo sign!

  330. Henristic, signing a long term contract means that a player has an intent to play for the particular team long term. If the player does not intend to stay long term, it is the players right to do so, but the player should not sign a long term contract. So, to try to make Wenger and the board out to be fools cannot be right, because if they thought he would be off, they would have not signed him to long term contract. It is obvious that someone was not being honest but it was not the team.
    The only logical understanding I can come up with is that the Board and Arsene expected Cesc to stay for a while.

  331. Henristic:

    I don’t begrudge players wanting to live where they want to live or make as much money as they possibly can make. That should be the right of any worker.

    Cesc just did a very poor job of managing the media and his agent and family etc etc etc. Don’t know the man but it made it feel like he was a jerk. The perception that he didn’t play as well for us in the last season may be a mistake but its hard to feel like he was giving 100%during that time.

    Perhaps he did sign that contract with a clear “verbal understanding” with our management that he was going to move well before the contract was finished, and he was trying to help the club by keeping his valuation high. I doubt that is what happened but if it did then that would change everything, at least in my mind.

  332. Finsbury – “Cesc refused to play last summer for his club. It may not be horrible but it is a breach of contract.
    Wait! He was injured. My apologies.

    I hate to break this to you, but there are other possibilities you know. Arsene said his head was not right….maybe? If both clubs were negotiating the transfer (which seems likely at that time) it would make sense that he didn’t play, so maybe there was an agreement?

    I don’t know how people simply jump to the notion that he refused to play for the club ignoring the small detail that aside from on Arsenal forums this has not been mentioned anywhere else. I sure if that were the case, the press would have had a field day with it.

  333. Paul – “Henristic, signing a long term contract means that a player has an intent to play for the particular team long term

    Don’t be so naive Paul. Do you honestly believe that to be the case. You don’t think players like the big heft signing on fee or pay rise?

  334. Henristic, so we got more money because of the contract? most are saying we got shafted. There would have been no difference if it was a 3 year contract, do you see my point.

    If you want to forgive him because of his age, then so be it, but you are trying to minimize how he behaved but it is what it is.

    He is young but many young players have been faithful.

  335. GA, my point is that a long term contract has a specific meaning, or else you cannot call it long term. So the team fully expected Cesc to stay for a while. What was in his mind, I do not need to know because he put pen to paper.

  336. GA,

    Cheers, I can remember what AW said. So can everyone else I think. At least, I hope.

  337. “The big shocker is of course Terry. Hodgson has really disappointed me there. I expected better from him.”

    Me too. He’s lost all my respect. Even with Theo and the Ox in the team, I will not be bothering with this lot.

  338. Andy:

    Its OK to sign a long term contract to get a big signing bonus and pay raise so you can get as much money as possible as soon as possible but knowing all along that you are never plan to finish the contract. I am all for the rights of players and I know it probably happens alot but even I think thats rather slimy.

  339. My last post goes to C as well

  340. This is when the real season begins for the manager and his assistants. Sign the players that will bring us through the next couple of years and next year in particular. I wish Benayoun could be around next season since he gave this club so much as a player. His effort on the field apparently suggesting that he was interested in staying with the club. A completely reliable performer!

    Others do not strike my fancy as much in the likes of the Dane and the Mexican. Somehow, Carlos Velas did not fullfill the promise that his early career with Arsenal suggested. He seems to lack that extra bit of bite to survive in the Premiership. That is surprising, I think, for a Mexican. The Dane seems to have been to full of himself and his self contrived marvellous potential. Too bad because I think he does have a great potential but not quite the personality and humility to drive him to reach his best. He is still young enough to make a change in his personality. Sometimes the changes to personality are to difficult for some to make and that is a shame. There really are some interesting decisions to make player-wise for the coming season.

  341. @Henristic

    Here’s my whole issues as i have stated before:

    I dont mind him signing the long term contract but dont sign it in then not give 100%. Not only that but dont talk about how your Captain of Arsenal and then allow for your Spanish team mates to drape Barca shit all over you and you do nothing but put it on. He never publically came out and tried to stop the constant onslaught from everybody Barca that was placed on Arsenal and Arsene thus in my book making him a worthless cunt. I don’t mind if you want to leave fine leave but dont say you want to be Captain and then not act like a Captain. Dont pledge your love Arsenal but then let people shit on them. I dont want to hear he’s just a kid because that same kid signed that massive contract and he wasn’t a kid then because he was the man. Honestly Fuck Cesc Fuck Barca!

  342. Karma has sorted him out – before he left he said “going to barca guarantees trophies”, well it turns out he was a day late and a dollar short. He has certainly learnt the hard way that there are no guarantees in life.

  343. You have a pretty idealistic view of contracts, Paul (funny cause Andy is supposed to be the one who leaves in a perfect world).

    On the face of it a long term contract means as you say, but in life things are rarely as they seem on the face of it, especially in this particular case where the player never shuts up about his love for his hometown club which happens to also at the time be the ‘best club ever’, as some will tell you.

    Most contracts have termination clauses in them, and often these clauses are exercised. More in football were even fewer contracts than normal are seen to the end. The attitude of people like Wenger, Giggs, Bergkamp, etc to contracts are actually now rather rare in football, as I’m sure you realize

    Bill, I find it hard to believe Arsene and the board were somehow fooled into thinking Cesc was gonna stay for the length of his contract, when even outsiders like us believe he wouldn’t.

    Goodnight folks. Nice chatting but I gotta run.

  344. ” Philmar,I suspect your opinions are a reflection of you character.
    Do you always blame authority figures? ”

    Only when they are at fault. – LOL.

    Seriously – I can’t blame someone for leaving to work for an employer that wants to pay them more. I’d do it. The Arse board has a wage policy and that is their right. But it their wage policy that prices them out of keeping the elite players. An elite player has a moral obligation to his family as well. A player can maximze his earnings to help his family elsewhere. Look at Eto’o. I think he took a crap job in Russia because he funnels a lot of his money to his charities.

    I am not ‘blaming’ the board. It’s their right to have a wage structure and run the business in a responsible manner – they have an obligation to shareholders, not me the fan. But the policy has implications and that seems to be the team’s current best player moving on every year or two. it’s an economic reality. Blame doesn’t enter in to it. Everybody is operating in their own self-interest. It just doesn’t always pan out the way we passionate emotional supporters desire. maybe we expect more loyalty than we’d give in our own personal lives. As much as I am thankful my cuirrent employer trained me to do my job chances are I’ll be leaving if someone else wants to double my wages. Sure there are circumstances that could mitigate that decision but I wouldn’t ‘blame’ my current employer if they can’t match those wages.

  345. Where is Fun’s definitive post on the cesc sage when you need it?


  347. Who the fuck said Skrtel was a top defender??? You are having a giraffe right? he’s awful!

    I see the Cesc bollocks has continued unabated then. Wouldnt it be funny if the barka fans turned on our ex-capitano? Well, I’d laugh. Loved him when he was a Gooner, but he left under a cloud, despite what revisionists and apologists would have us believe.

    Its funny that those eager to forgive cesc, or explain it all away are those with a rather tenuous affection for the club.

    Just saying.

  348. philmar you thick cunt, cesc took a wage cut. And the board doesnt have an obligatuon to share holders.

    But apart from that, carry on do.

  349. Apologies for typos in last few messages. This touchscreen thingy is tricky.

  350. Its interesting that those defending the ex-capitano are the ones who find it easiest to slag off the club, players, manager.

    Just saying

  351. Henristic:

    Arsene and the board should have known that there was a very good possibility that Cesc would leave and they should have had contingency plans. Were they really that naive to think Cesc would not push for a move before his contract was up? It seems like they were and that was a big mistake for our management to make. However, that does not make Cesc any less laible for his bad behavior. Those 2 thoughts might seem mutually exclusive but I don’t think they are. Bottom line is that none of us really will ever know what happened.

  352. @Dexter

    “Its interesting that those defending the ex-capitano are the ones who find it easiest to slag off the club, players, manager.”

    Isn’t that how it always is though with anything Arsenal lol

  353. Henristic, your first sentence is a unecessary jab that really makes no sense. You are trying to imply that Arsenal did not intend for the guy to stay long term but if they signed him long term, it makes sense that they wanted and expected that. You are simply trying to spin it in a way that floats your boat.

  354. Bill

    You’re the naive one if you think anyone at the club, including Doris the tea lady thought Cesc would see out his contract.

    Whewn you say contingencies plans what exactly do you mean?

    They should have done what hapopend to Arnie Swarzenegger in the 6th Day and cloned his catalan ass?

  355. I cannot believe this mass debate (AKA load of wank) has gone on for this long?


  356. The recent player commentary has been excellent.

    I prefer Chelsea to fall short on Saturday. This decision has nothing to do with the Spuds.
    A Chelsea defeat will only force the owner to get rid of the older players (sooner), change managers (which he’s likely going to do anyway), and pay out more money (in wages) as they don’t have CL football as a leverage. It could take them more than one season to find stability.

    Excited for Chamberlain to be selected. He should not have the same problems that Theo experienced. Ox has a much more balanced game to rely on.

    The new owners at Pool had little choice in firing King Kenny. The start of his downfall (imo) was his relentless support of Suarez. The issue festered far too long and I’m sure had the owners uncomfortable (wrong side of he PR), as well as many loyal fans, compounded by their dismal performances all season.

    In regards to Song…….his playing style, well he just uniquely plods along; certainly unlike Arteta, Wilshere, and Rosicky.

    However, his vision to find open teammates and execute an accurate pass (air or ground) is remarkable. He does this consistently and I admire him for being a risk taker. At 24, he will only become wiser and contribute more assists and pre-assists.

    Song does not need to be deep in midfield, where there might be more time and space. Last season (2010-11) many complained about his moving forward, but in the forward position he still can pick out the pass.

    I can’t remember the opponent, but it was the match this season that he dribbled past three opponents on the left flank and then from just outside the PA on the left flank, he found RvP at the far post for a header. The build up was more memorable than the actual goal.

    He also played a similar pass, top edge of PA (left side), and found Eduardo with a soft flighted ball……Eduardo’s famous beach volley goal – outside of the left boot to the far post.

    Alex Song has the game to practically play anywhere in mid-field and defense that he is asked.
    – excellent at winning the 50/50 balls without fouling
    – once in possession, difficult to take the ball from him
    – can beat one or more opponents with the dribble
    – ability to feel the pressure and play the necessary one – touch.

    After RvP he’s my second player in the line up.

  357. You are right Dex.

  358. How anyone is defending fabregas for screwing us is beyond me. You cannot equate this to modric’s case as modric was settled the season before this one. If you can all remember cesc transfer saga started two seasons before he left, he could have left sooner but he left when he left despite the club doing all they could to keep him, i am with pauln on this one,if he’d never signed such a long contract and hadnt yapped and ogling barca every second he got i’d have some respect for him.i hope he rots in there.

  359. @Arsession

    You make many great points about our Song but the most important point you make which i 100% agree with is: Its interesting that those defending the ex-capitano are the ones who find it easiest to slag off the club, players, manager.

    I do think that his best “position” would be as a CM thus not only giving him time and space, though he does play 1-2 touch football, to pick out any pass he likes. Also in this position it allows him to do break up play with the steel that he does. The thing i dont want any of you to foget which is partly why I’m not surprised by his assist and passing skill is the fact that he came to us as a AM but was just so strong and great at breaking up play that Arsene made him into the most feared and dominant DM in the PL in arguably in the world. I personally would only want him to play AM if we were playing like a 4-1-2-3 where M’villa(if we sign him) could play as the lone true DM thus allowing Song to play further up the pitch thus allowing him to break up play even further up the pitch and freeing all of our strikers to score bags and bags of goals.

  360. @Firstlady

    so eloquently put!

  361. pedantic george

    Henristic,my reply would have been exactly what Paul N said

  362. “I can’t remember the opponent, but it was the match this season that he dribbled past three opponents on the left flank and then from just outside the PA on the left flank, he found RvP at the far post for a header. The build up was more memorable than the actual goal.”

    It was against Dortmund, one of my favourite Song moments of 11/12

  363. Limestonegunner

    Come to think of it, the international breaks and tournaments have been bad for Arsenal lately. Cesc’s head gets turned by Spain teammates. RvP heads to Euros–in that Dutch team he has got precious little to show by comparison for team honours. Just him and VdV sitting in the corner. I think RvP has his own standards for judging himself and what he wants–had two artists for parents and he’s always been a bit of a non-conformist and rebel. Cesc was weak. Just a kid. He joined Arsenal when we were the world’s best team with the greatest players. He wanted glory handed to him.

  364. Limestonegunner

    Bill at 7:00pm–top comment.

  365. I think RVP wants to be the 1 to Captain Arsenal when we win trophies because he has seen us at our best and knows that given even half a run of health we can win the PL

  366. Just listening to the deluded scouse fans on sky saying they must have Mourinho or Guardiola as their new manager and righting off the likes of martinez.

    Media fed fuckwits

  367. Limestonegunner

    Passenal at 8:48pm–yes lots of growing up to do for the boy. No major trophies and their most successful manager and his idol gone from the club after but one year. He shouldn’t have left Arsenal until he won the league. Looks like he’s blown it!

  368. OK, lets have go at the England line up;

    Jones – Jagielka – Cahill – Baines
    Gerrard – Barry
    Theo – Oxo Kid – Young

    Won’t be anything like that and it’s not the one I’d want, but it’s from what Roy has picked (including the standbys)

  369. @Dexter

    I’m not English and i know the Ox wont start, probably the always laughable talents of Stewart Downing mate

  370. Limestonegunner

    The crazy thing is that with that lineup, and with Downing in the squad, it is quite possible that the Ox will play. I’m not especially happy to have him running around with JT, Cashley, Rooney, and the whole England crew. Luckily he seems to have a decent head on his shoulders and serious parents.

  371. Bill @ 9:19pm

    “Arsene and the board should have known that there was a very good possibility that Cesc would leave and they should have had contingency plans.”

    You mean, like, plans which would enable us to win more points and end up higher in the league in the following season?

  372. Dex and merlot.

    We have talked many times on here how the current system of short passing 433 was built around cesc’s talent. We could get into it in more depth some other time if you want but it seems a touch dodgy to be completely dependent on a strategy built for a player we knew was a short termer.

  373. Limestonegunner

    Liverpool’s list of managerial candidates looks right: Klopp, AVB, Deschamps. I’d add Blanc, but he’s obviously not available until at least until after the Euros. Younger managers who have won league titles but not shooting for the moon with Guardiola and so on, as they have no chance. That’s the same sort of profile I’d go for to replace AW when the time comes.

  374. Jacobite Gunner

    The below comment was allowed to be placed on le groves website by their moderators- purile!

    LJBMay 15, 2012 22:10:07
    HA HA,those window lickers on ACLF have sent a petition to Arsenal calling for Stewart Robson to be removed from Arsenal player because his matchday commentary is “too negative” and he is critical of the tactics and the players. Honestly you couldn’t make this shit up.What hope have we got when we’ve got fans who think Wenger is a genius and say they don’t want the club to spend money. Next season we have got to stop talking and start protesting.Big statements need to be made that reach the States and embarass Kroenke;as long as he is the majority shareholder,Wenger will remain as manager.Next summer he will be offered a new 3 yr deal irrespective of how the season pans out;thats the reality of Arsenal in 2012. The glory days departed this part of town long ago.AFC RIP.

  375. Jacobite Gunner

    I mean, that the Le Grove’s moderators are allowing for it to be on their blog

  376. Jacobite Gunner

    Please, for the sake of our sanity, do not post le goan shite here.

  377. Jacobite Gunner

    They only moderate people with brains.

  378. Clerkenwell Gooner

    can’t we just give squillaci the freaking armband?

    lol khalifha – exactly what we need, a decoy.

    at the risk of this joint already being shut for the night, here is my take:

    i don’t mind if rvp goes. he’s a fabulous player, but i was one of those (already ‘fessed up to it several times) who didn’t mind if he was sold last year, because he found it so difficult to make it through a whole season. i still think that, although it’s obviously been great that he’s won the golden boot with his goal tally. it’s too much just to rely on him, given his history, another season of carrying the team the way he has done this one would see him burn out completely, i reckon. and why he would want to settle his contract now, rather than after the euros, when he could be coming back to london with a medal? it doesn’t make sense to me, and i expect the process to drag on until later in the summer.

    the bonus of next season is that we expect to get our midfield back. we finished 3rd without jack, cesc, nasri or diaby, and that is frankly mind-blowing. we have a decent keeper now, and a whole load of whippersnappers waiting for their chance, including a number of exciting-looking strikers.

    a more attack-minded midfield, and a bunch of the youth chasing goals to up their stats in order to force aw’s hand, could bring us a substantial number of the goals we need to compete for 1st. if rvp wants to stay, then good, but if not, i wish him good luck. (where would he likely go? who can afford him? juve?)

  379. Hi gunaz, i plid to the manegment to allow wenger to sing big players, cos we ar loosing all our key players, hop 4 a great change dis season. One luv.

  380. I am vaguely guessing AW is a bit of a stats manager, and if not, likes the clear sight of facts and analysis to guide decisions. He will want to look especially at goals conceded and how, games lost and how, peaks and troughs and their actual context. I’m a rank amateur, but I do think 5 roles will be scrutinised closely: (1) goal-scoring options, central striker, diversity of game plan: partly resolved with Posolski; I also agree with retaining Chamakh, still too thin? (2) left-sided attack, ditto above and obviously plus 3Gs and Arshavin options, maybe Ryo: I think we will retain Arshavin (3) midfield playmaker: only one Arteta turned out to be an achilles heel, and so it looked even before he was injured, this is the critical decision, is Wilshere (coming back)/Mozart (getting on) adequate? (4) creative minder: hard to replace Song and his form will dip with many games, M’Vila is ideal, Diaby can also do that job but …. and Frimpong is developing; enough or not? (5) five CBs is minimum, are Djourou and Skilly adequate?

    With this in mind I think the emphasis will be M’Vila or similar, a new defender for Skilly, and Wenger’s luxury signing, that might just be Campbell arriving and work permit issues. A couple of big decisions around the role of Le Coq and how to best use his obvious versatility, he is already seen as what YW describes as “a proper midfielder”; what to do about Diaby; and whether to make a bid for Benayoun. Minor decisions around Bendtner, Vela and Denilson. I would have all three return and perform at Carling Cup level, but that’s me. If I had to choose one, Denilson for sure.

    It may take Wilshere a while to settle, or not as he’s one guy itching to play but an inconsistent season might be expected. I would take no liberties and look at post-October for a proper return, a little like the way he got in the first team. He is the only player capable of effectively doing what Arteta does, receiving, retaining, keeping a move fluid. I would stick to my guns and retain Diaby and look to get him off to a start early in the season. Hopefully he will play some games for France. Ramsey is a key figure in all this, I feel destined as one of Arsenal’s greats, a potential “game-changer”, like Diaby.

    Is such a mix realistically capable of taking on City? Obviously.

  381. RvP wants to stay, but has some suitors. Arsenal wants him to stay. Decisions are going to be financial.

  382. ZimPaul: Diaby – “Hopefully he will play some games for France.”
    At Euro 2012? Unlikely – he’s not even in the French squad.

  383. arsenalandrew

    My gut feeling is that it’s not just financial with RVP but is also about squad strengthening.

    We have a squad overflowing with talent, promise and potential. In time the existing playing staff could come to win many things.

    We can give RVP (some) money but time is not in our gift.

    He can point to the games where experienced players made the difference – and to the ones where they were missing. It’s simplistic to suggest it, possibly, but probably not a million miles wide of the mark to look what happened to our results without Per and Arteta playing.

    Rvp’s talks may well be hinging on strengthening in those specific positions for the specific, calming experience those players provide in abundance and that we miss so badly when they are absent.

    AW may want to wrap Robin’s contract up ASAP but RVP may well put the ball back in Arsene’s court.

    Not so much with a ‘show me the money’ demand but ‘show me the players’.

    And that could prove tricky …

  384. I would love if wenger managed to get m’vila and vertonghen. we would have real depth in our squad for a possible title challenge

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